BUFFALO, NY - The House Ethics Committee announced today that it needs more time to complete its investigation into Congressman Chris Collins (R-Clarence).
By continuing the investigation, the committee has left open the possibility that Collins violated House Ethics rules and possibly federal law, but again today, Collins insists that he has done nothing wrong.
Today's announcement from the committee comes on the date they had hoped to complete their investigation. Sometimes, these extended reviews can go on for years.
Thursday was significant not only because the House Ethics Committee announced an extension of the probe, but also because the Office of Congressional Ethics report was made public for the first time.
The nonpartisan OCE, which investigates complaints and then decides whether to refer them to the House Ethics Committee, found "substantial reason to believe" that Collins "shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock." That is in reference to Innate Immunotherapeutics, which had worked to develop a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Collins holds a seat on the Board of Directors at that company. The OCE's report also indicated "substantial reason to believe" that Collins may have violated House rules by attempting to arrange a meeting with the NIH and Innate employees to discuss clinical trials.
It is important to point out the OCE moved to dismiss an allegation against Collins that claimed he was buying discounted stock that was not available to the public. There was not substantial reason to believe this occurred, according to the office, which meant it was not recommended for referral to the House Ethics Committee.
The extension of the investigation by the House Ethics Committee does not necessarily mean the committee found evidence of a violation.