Rep. Collins suspends re-election campaign amid insider trading allegations

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., announced on Saturday that he would not run for re-election, reversing course days after he being charged for insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Collins, 68, was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2016, and is charged along with his son, Cameron Collins, and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron Collins' fiancée, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan. All three pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in a Manhattan federal court and were released on bail at $500,000 a piece.

The congressman, who represents New York's 27th Congressional District, had previously vowed to remain on the ballot for his November re-election race, but said Democrats "would like nothing more than to elect an 'Impeach Trump' Democrat in this District, which is something that neither our country or my party can afford."

"After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interest of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump's agenda for me to suspend my campaign for Re-election to Congress," Collins said.

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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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Collins said he would not resign his post immediately, as some Democrats have called for, but would instead finish his term "to assure that our community maintains its vote in Congress to support President Trump's agenda to create jobs, eliminate regulations, reduce the size of government, address immigration and lower taxes."

The case that prosecutors are building against Collins involves Innate Immunotherapeutics, a small North Melbourne-based pharmaceutical company, where the congressman served on the board for three years until 2017. He remains one of its biggest shareholders with a nearly 17 percent ownership stake.

A grand jury indictment stated that Collins passed along non-public material to his son regarding the results of a drug trial intended to treat an advanced form of multiple sclerosis in June 2017. He intended for Cameron Collins to "use that information to make timely trades in Innate stock and tip others," according to the indictment.

The drug trail later failed and the stock value fell 92 percent.

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