Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), who headed up the congressional relations side of the Trump transition, is showing just how much of a chip off the old corrupted block he is, and he could be taking some of his Republican colleagues with him. Collins has been neck deep in what looks suspiciously like insider trading. This might all sound vaguely familiar to you, and it should, because of Collins’ role in creating controversy for Tom Price, former Georgia representative and now HHS secretary, during his confirmation hearings. Price was under fire for his history of profiting from stock buys in companies that he was writing legislation to benefit. One of the major buys under scrutiny was in Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian biotech firm, a company he found about through, you guessed it, Collins.
It wasn’t just Price, though. Collins first came under fire when he was caught by reporters bragging in a phone call about how many millionaires he made by telling them about this company. A company whose “stock’s price has nearly tripled since [last summer], as Congress, with significant help from Collins, passed legislation that could benefit makers of experimental drugs such as Innate Immunotherapeutics.” Because some of the people he bragged about making millionaires, congressional colleagues allege were them.
Collins, President Trump’s chief defender and unofficial spokesman on Capitol Hill, told a group of House GOP colleagues over dinner earlier this year that he had urged colleagues to invest in Innate Immunotherapeutics and made them plenty of money in the process, said one GOP lawmaker who was present for the conversation.
“He said that he’s made members money,” the GOP lawmaker told The Hill.
“Members of Congress?” a reporter asked.
“Yeah, on his stock tip,” the lawmaker replied.
“If you get in early, you’ll make a big profit,” Collins reportedly told another group of House Republicans last summer, according to a second GOP lawmaker who was part of the same 2012 class as Collins.
Asked if he ever heard Collins brag about making colleagues money, the second lawmaker replied: “I’ve heard those kinds of phrases.”