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Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:30

Rep. Chris Collins’s advocacy for biotech company broke rules, House ethics watchdog finds

Written by  Mike DeBonis

A House ethics watchdog has found “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Chris Collins violated federal law and congressional rules by meeting with government researchers in his official capacity to benefit a biotech company he is invested in, and sharing private information to drum up investments in that company.

The New York Republican was an early backer of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian firm that was developing a new therapy for multiple sclerosis, and recruited investors that included family, his congressional staff and House colleagues — including Tom Price, who later served as Health and Human Services secretary.

[House members see stock price of controversial biotech-firm investments plummet]

A high-stakes trial of Innate’s drug failed earlier this year, and its chief executive said in August that the firm is likely to shutter. But the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) started probing in March whether Collins overstepped bounds in his advocacy for the firm and corroborated some allegations in July.

The report’s findings could leave Collins, an early supporter of President Trump’s presidential campaign, vulnerable to ethics sanctions or even potential criminal prosecution based on allegations of insider trading.

The report was published Thursday by the House Ethics Committee pursuant to House rules requiring its public release.

Read more at WashingtonPost

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