Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Draining The Trumpist Swamp-- Chris Collins


Chris Collins (R-NY) making headlines

Early this morning, western New York Congressman Chris Collins, who represents the Buffalo and Rochester suburbs in a safe (R+11) seat that Trump won 59.7-35.2%, was arrested by the FBI, along with his son Cameron and Cameron's father-in-law, Stephen Zarsky. This is the indictment.

Collins is a backbencher who doesn't make many waves... just does whatever leadership tells him to do-- except for two things:
1- he was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump
2- he's an insider trading crook who used his office to enrich himself and several of his cronies
The co-chair of the Battery Storage Caucus, he has one of the highest Trump affinity scores in Congress-- 98.9%. He made news after the 2016 election when Chris Cuomo asked him about Trump considering Mitt Romney to head the State Department, telling CNN viewers that "What do I know about Mitt Romney? I know that he's a self-serving egomaniac who puts himself first, who has a chip on his shoulder, and thinks that he should be president of the United States."

Other than that, his only real brush with fame was when he bought 4 million shares of an Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, which made him the single largest shareholder. He also told Tom Price (R-GA) and others to buy shares (Price bought 400,000 shares, valued at around a quarter million dollars, and was eventually fired as Secretary if Health and Human Services for his role in the insider trading scam). Collins had used his office-- and non-public information about drug trials-- to benefit the company and drive up the stock price. In the end, Collins' insider info allowed him and his family to avoid $768,000 in stock losses, based on what he knew about how a new multiple sclerosis drug had failed a medical trial, which quickly caused the Innate stock price to drop 92% when they announced that publicly.

Even if Collins winds up on trial before November, this is unlikely to have much impact on his race against progressive Democrat Nate McMurray, a Grand Island town supervisor who has raised only $133,624 against Collins' $1,274,249. The district is just too red... or is it? Wasserman at the Cook Report, who's usually very slow and tepid about changing race ratings, immediately changed NY-27 from "solid Republican" to "likely Republican." And Paul Ryan, while not calling on him to resign, did kick him off the House Energy Committee. "While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle," said Ryan, "the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee." Let's see if McMurray can make this enough of an issue to win with.

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At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Politics is about corruption. Weak sisters like Collins are thrown overboard when We the People get too aware of the connection so that we'll think reform has been committed.


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