WASHINGTON — New York Republican Rep. Chris Collins hit back at a report issued from the Congressional Ethics Committee Thursday that concluded there is “substantial reason to believe” the congressman engaged in insider trading and made moves to help a company that he is the largest shareholder in.
The House Ethics Committee stated it would extend its review of the issue under a procedure that does not place deadlines for additional public announcements and the committee seldom metes out punishments.
The New York Republican — the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president — slammed New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, a representative from a district near Collins’s, for launching the attack against him, calling her a “despicable human being.”
“Her discussion on IPO’s did not apply to companies overseas. That was her negligence in how she drafted it. But that’s how she did draft it. So in her report if they say did you invest in an IPO, a public IPO, the answer is no,” Collins told reporters Thursday.
He added, “We cleared that with ethics because this was not a U.S. [company]. Louise Slaughter got caught in her inability to properly draft her law three four five six years ago and so she attacked me on it.”
Collins is a board member of an Australian biotechnology company called Innate Immunotherapeutics. Former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price, is also an investor in the firm.
The OCE report says Collins talked about Innate at a November 2013 meeting at the National Institutes of Health and asked that an NIH staffer meet with Innate personnel to discuss clinical trial designs.
Additionally, there may have been information Collins revealed with Innate investors that was not available to the public and could have been critical to investors looking to buy stock in the company, the report said.
Collins’ lawyer told USA Today, however, that the information Collins gave was actually public or irrelevant, and there was nothing inappropriate about his NIH meeting.