Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) has been charged with insider trading.
What’s more, he was caught on video calling his son about failed drug trials ……… At the White House:
Federal prosecutors charged Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), President Trump’s first congressional supporter, with insider trading on Wednesday, alleging the New York Republican schemed with his son to avoid significant losses on a biotechnology investment.
Collins was at a congressional picnic at the White House last year when he learned that Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotechnology company, had received bad news about an important drug trial. Collins frantically attempted to reach his son, Cameron Collins, whom he tipped off to the confidential corporate information days before it would be made public, according to prosecutors. Cameron Collins and several others used the information to avoid more than $700,000 in losses, they said.
Collins “helps write the laws of this country,” said Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. But Collins “acted as if the law did not apply to him.”
Collins turned himself in to the FBI at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning and then appeared in a Manhattan federal court in the afternoon wearing a dark suit and white button-down shirt open at the collar. He spoke only briefly during the nearly 20-minute hearing, telling the judge: “I plead not guilty.”
The charges could turn into a headache for several House Republicans who invested in Innate Immunotherapeutics at Collins’s encouragement. Prosecutors did not allege in the indictment that Collins tipped off any of his colleagues in Congress about the failed drug trial before it was made public, but Democrats pounced on the charges and said those lawmakers would have to answer tough questions about their investments in Innate.
According to the indictment, while at the June 2017 congressional picnic at the White House, Collins received an email from Innate Immunotherapeutics’ chief executive alerting the company’s board that an eagerly anticipated drug trial had been a failure. Minutes later, Collins responded to the email: “Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???”
Almost immediately, Collins tried to get in contact with his son, who owned millions of shares of the company’s stock, according to the indictment. Within a few minutes, Collins and his son called each other six times before connecting and talking for six minutes. During that last call, Collins told Cameron Collins, his son, about the failed drug trial, according to the indictment, which cites phone and bank records as well as texts.
It gets even better: It looks like a number of other Republican Congressmen are implicated in this:
Collins, worth $66 million, apparently urged Republican colleagues in Congress to invest.
“If you get in early, you’ll make a big profit,” Collins reportedly told House Republicans last summer.
At least six Republicans appear to have been convinced by Collins’ pitch (though at various times they claimed to have arrived at the stock purchase through media reports).
1. Tom Price, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services. During his confirmation hearings, Price was accused of taking advantage of a special deal on Innate stock only available to a select number of lawmakers at a discount offered by Collins.
2. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX): The Texas Republican claimed he heard about Innate from media reports, but as the Houston Chronicle noted, it’s not clear which. At the time of his purchase, Innate was described as “a tiny pharmaceutical company from Australia that has no approved drugs and no backing from flashy venture capital firms.” The Chronicle pointed out that Culberson’s past investment history does not square with his purchase of biotech stocks and his opponent, a research physician, has wondered what led Culberson to invest, “since at the time he bought it in January there had been no published research articles or significant clinical trial updates on the drug, known as MIS416.”
3. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) is another Texas lawmaker who bought large shares in Innate. He does not appear to have purchased Innate stock at a discount.
4. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sat Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce at the time of his stock purchase, raising a possible conflict of interest, reports the Daily Beast.
5. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) sat on the subcommittee as well.
6. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) reportedly became far more active in the stock market in 2015. Long sat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which addresses health policy.
Republicans, particularly Trump Republicans are not having a good time right now.
In 2006, it was Mark Foley, and now it seems that there a whole passel of Mark Foleys.
H/t Crooks and Liars.