Facing Insider Trading Charges, Trump's First Congressional Backer Suspends Re-Election Campaign

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.)—the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump’s bid for president—announced on Saturday that he is suspending his re-election campaign after he was arrested on Wednesday and charged for his alleged role in an insider trading scheme.

In a statement posted to social media Saturday morning, Collins revealed that he is suspending his campaign while maintaining his denial of any wrongdoing. The congressman also said he plans to serve the remaining few months of his term, “to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump’s agenda.”

As Common Dreams reported Wednesday, Collins’ arrest was celebrated by Washington D.C. ethics watchdogs that have been calling for investigations into several GOP congressmen’s investments in Innate Immunotherapeutics for more than a year. Collins served on the Australian biomedical firm’s board and is one of its biggest shareholders. He is charged with illegally sharing stock information about the company.

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Although Collins has suspended his campaign, removing his name from the ballot is more complicated, as Politico explained:

Following Collins’ announcement on Saturday, at least one local Republican, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, indicated on Twitter that he plans to seek the party’s nomination to replace Collins on the ballot.

Collins’ decision to suspend his campaign, as Politico noted, followed demands from Democrats—including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, chair of the New York State Democratic Committee, that he immediately resign.

Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, a Democrat who is running to represent New York’s 27th District, also called on Collins to step down. McMurray, according to his campaign website, supports Medicare for All, women’s reproductive rights, taking action to address the climate crisis, and “creating pathways that will allow every student to go to college debt-free.”

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