GOP Rep. Chris Collins says he's still going to run for re-election despite insider trading accusations

  • Congressman Chris Collins was arrested yesterday on charges of securities fraud, including a claim of insider trading at a White House picnic.
  • Collins claims the charges are "meritless", and told a press conference he will stand for re-election in the mid-terms.
  • He represents the 27th District of New York in the House of Representatives.

The GOP congressman accused of insider trading has vowed to stand for re-election in November, despite the allegations against him.

Chris Collins, who represents the 27th district of New York, was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday and charged with securities fraud, including an allegation that he made an insider trade from a picnic held at the White House.

At a press conference on Wednesday night, Collins attacked the allegations against him as "meritless", and said he would clear his name and run for office again.

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U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) flashes a thumbs-up before delivering his nomination speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Representative Chris Collins (R-NY) is seen on a screen as he delivers his nomination speech for Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
UNITED STATES - JUNE 13: Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., attends a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee markup in Rayburn Building on June 13, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 11: Reps. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., right, and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., attend a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data featuring testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on April 11, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 27: Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 26: Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on April 26, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 16: (AFP-OUT) President Donald Trump participates in a congressional listening session with GOP members in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured is Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY). (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, D.C. - FEBRUARY 16: (AFP-OUT) President Donald Trump participates in a congressional listening session with GOP members in the Roosevelt Room of the White House February 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) (3rd R). (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 19: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) delivers a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 19: Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) checks the sound while on stage prior to the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Erie County Executive Chris Collins (L) listens as New York State Governor David Patterson (R) speaks at a news conference along with other law enforcement agencies near the Emergency Training Center in Cheektowaga, New York February 13, 2009 in response to a Continental Flight 3407 that crashed with no survivors. REUTERS/Gary Wiepert (UNITED STATES)
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At the end of a six-minute statement, he told reporters: "I will remain on the ballot running for re-election this November." He then ended the conference without taking questions.

Collins' district is in western New York, between Buffalo and Rochester, and is generally considered a safe seat for the GOP. His opponent is Democrat Nate McMurray, an attorney and local politician.

Here's a video of the statement:

The allegations against Collins relate to his position on the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, an Australian pharmaceutical company.

Prosecutors in New York allege that Collins tipped off his son to impending bad news, allowing him to sell shares before the market could react.

The indictment said that Collins got privileged information — that one of Innate's drugs had failed a medical trial — while at a White House picnic event for lawmakers on June 22, 2017.

Collins allegedly called his son Cameron Collins the same day to alert him to the bad news, which the market didn't hear about until June 26. Prosecutors say Cameron then sold more than 1.3 million shares in Innate. 

The company's stock price plummeted when the failed trial became public. The indictment says that the advance information saved around $570,000.

The complete charges against Collins are one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, seven counts of securities fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to the FBI.

In the statement to reporters in Manhattan, he said: "My connections with the company are well known. I believe I acted properly and within the law at all times with regard to my affiliation with Innate."

Cameron and the father of his fiancée, Stephen Zarsky, were also charged by the FBI.

Collins was one of the first congressmen to publicly support Donald Trump and is a long-term ally of the President.

In the statement on Wednesday, Collins said: "I will mount a vigorous defense in court to clear my name." 

"My connections with the company are well known. I believe I acted properly and within the law at all times with regard to my affiliation with Innate."

All three of those charged pleaded not guilty in Manhattan on Wednesday. You can read the full indictment here

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