U-S House Ethics Committee Probing Rep. Chris Collins

Case referred by Ethics Office last July

Richard Root
August 29, 2017 - 6:20 am

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Washington, DC (WBEN) - The U.S. House Ethics Committee is now looking into Congressman Chris Collins and complaints of ethics violations. They confirmed that when the Committee announced Monday they are extending the time-table of their investigation.

The Office of Congressional Ethics started looking into Congressman Collins back in May, responding to complaints Collins may have violated insider trading rules.  Collins is the largest shareholder in Australian biotech firm  Innate Immunotherapeutics. The complaints reportedly revolve around a private stock offering and also Collins' involvement in a bill that some argue would benefit the company.

Collins' spokesperson says the extension announced yesterday has mostly to do with the August recess. Collins has also characterized the investigation as a "political witch-hunt". 

However, as these investigations are to remain confidential at each phase until they are obligated to reveal certain information, it wasn't public knowledge the Office had recommended the Committee take up the investigation.

Less than half of the cases get moved to the Committee, and the Office only refers cases when it has "a substantial reason to believe a violation occurred."

The extension seems related to the following rules on public disclosure:

"Except in very limited circumstances, the Committee on Ethics must eventually release the OCE’s report and findings.  Public release is required within 45 days, unless the Committee votes to extend this period by an additional 45 days.  The release of the report and findings can also be delayed if the Committee decides to create an investigative subcommittee to investigate the matter.  In that case, the OCE report must still be released within a year."

Which means the full report could come before October 12, unless the investigation becomes more serious in nature.

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