Rep. Chris Collins suspends re-election campaign after being indicted on insider trading charges

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Republican congressman says will not step down and will stay on the ballot for November's midterm election.
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Rep. Collins says insider trading charges are ‘meritless’

Republican congressman says will not step down and will stay on the ballot for November’s midterm election.

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said on Saturday that he is suspending his re-election campaign — just days after he was indicted on insider trading charges.

“Democrats are laser focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump,” Collins said in a statement. “They would like nothing more than to elect an ‘Impeach Trump’ Democrat in this District, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford.”

Collins was named in the indictment announced on Wednesday, along with his son and the father of his son’s fiancee. The fraud counts relate to securities of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics, where the 68-year-old congressman served on the board. 

“Christopher Collins, the defendent, violated the duties he owed to Innate by passing material; nonpublic information regarding the Drug Trial results to his son, Cameron Collins, the defendent, so that [his son] could use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others,” the indictment states. “Cameron Collins traded on the inside information and passed it to Stephen Zarsky.”

NEW YORK REP. CHRISTOPHER COLLINS INDICTED ON INSIDER TRADING CHARGES 

The charges include multiple counts of securities fraud, along with one count of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count each of making false statements. All three defendents pleaded not guilty.

On Wednesday, Collins said the charges were “meritless” and said he would remain on the ballot for re-election.

But on Saturday, he said that after discussions with family and friends, that he had decided it was in the best interests of his constituents, the GOP and President Trump for his to suspend the campaign. 

“I will fill out the remaining few months of my term to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes,” he said in the statement.

He added that he will fight the “meritless” charges against him and looked forward to being cleared.

Collins has served New York’s 27th District since 2013 and ran unopposed in the Republican primary for what is largely considered a safe Republican seat. He’s being challenged by Democrat Nate McMurray.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Collins’ statement “insufficient” and said that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., should demand Collins resign.

“This insufficient and overdue announcement does little to drain the toxic cesspool of self-enrichment, special interest deals and corruption that has proliferated in Washington under GOP control,” she said in a statement.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Nicole Darrah and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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