BUFFALO, NY – U.S. Rep Chris Collins vowed Wednesday night to continue to effectively serve the constituents of New York's 27th Congressional district, and seek re-election while waging what figures to be a rather involved legal battle as he faces federal charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI.
After issuing a roughly seven minute statement before assembled reporters, Collins left without taking questions about the allegations against him, or how difficult it might be to effectively represent the district given the rigors of the job, plus the 11 count indictment he now faces with charges serious enough to land him in prison if he's convicted.
Two on Your Side visited both Collins’ local congressional office, and his Clarence home to try and ask him questions, but could find him at neither location Thursday.
As well, a phone call and an e-mail to his congressional spokesperson in Washington was not returned.
As Collins stays mum, however, fellow Republican Congressman Tom Reed (NY 23rd District) who represents the Southern Tier, broke his silence on the matters involving Collins.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Reed said. “I want to make clear that we as (Congress) members are no different than anyone else, and need to be held accountable to the laws of the land."
Asked if he felt it would be difficult for Collins, who following his arrest was also stripped of his committee memberships by House Speaker Paul Ryan, could effectively serve the district at this time, Reed replied, “obviously these are very serious allegations and I believe your concern raised in that question is a legitimate concern."
When questioned further, as to whether he felt that Collins should step aside and forego efforts to seek re-election, Reed responded, “That’s really up to him and his family and ultimately up to the voters. That the way it should be in a democracy such as ours, and I trust the wisdom of those voters."