EAST AURORA, NY-- An elected official in East Aurora is calling for Rep. Chris Collins to resign.
David Gunner, Highway Superintendent of East Aurora and a Republican, drafted a letter to colleagues calling for Collins to step down and is asking others to do the same.
Following news of Collins' arrest on insider trading charges Wednesday, Gunner says he is no longer a supporter of Collins.
"I believe Collins has done good things for Erie County and our Congressional District. Many times, he’s made us proud. But this insider trading scandal has put our district in real peril. If he runs, I don’t think he can win. I don’t care how much money he has, he can’t buy this seat - the good people of NY27 won’t stand for it," said Gunner in the letter.
The charges against Collins stem from an ethics investigation that was launched last year following accusations that Collins shared non-public information about an Australian biotech company. The indictment alleges Chris Collins passed the information on to his son Cameron, who allegedly used the information to sell stock and tip others. Cameron Collins is accused of providing that information to Stephen Zarsky, Cameron Collins' future father-in-law, and others not named in the indictment, for the same purpose.
Here is Gunner's full letter:
I have been a strong supporter of Congressman Chris Collins for more than a decade. I spent many days in East Aurora neighborhoods, gathering signatures to put him on the ballot and urging our townspeople to vote for him.
No longer. Today I’m calling for his resignation and I’m writing to urge you to do the same.
I believe Collins has done good things for Erie County and our Congressional District. Many times, he’s made us proud. But this insider trading scandal has put our district in real peril. If he runs, I don’t think he can win. I don’t care how much money he has, he can’t buy this seat - the good people of NY27 won’t stand for it.
Like you, I believe he is innocent until proven guilty. But he’s not a CEO anymore, he is a Congressman. He simply can’t hunker down to survive these very real charges. He must represent us, and the people we serve, in Washington. I don’t think he can do what must be done for our area, stripped of his committee seats, bereft of power. He will be shunned by his leadership, and by extension, so will we.
And what happens in the very real possibility that he is found guilty? We will endure the division and expense of yet another Congressional special election in this district.
As a Republican, I’m also very concerned about the terrible impact he will have on our party locally, statewide and nationally. If he’s at the top of our ticket, all GOP candidates running with him will get caught in his downdraft. Party loyalists may not turn out to vote and his opponent will surge. Local leaders like Assemblyman Ray Walter, an exceptional representative in a tough race, will likely lose. Our gubernatorial nominee won’t gain many votes he desperately needs in a difficult fight to replace Andrew Cuomo.
And nationally? That’s where it hurts the most. If our party beats the odds and retains the House of Representatives, it will only be by a few seats. Make no mistake: it is very possible Collins will lose this race and create a national catastrophe for the Republican Party - and perhaps for the nation.
Today, I call upon Chris Collins to do whatever it takes to clear the way for another Republican candidate for Congress. I don’t do this happily; I’ve had to search my soul. I am writing to urge you to do the same.
As elected Highway Supervisors, we know the streets, we know the people. As sad as it is, we know Chris Collins is finished and it’s our responsibility to lead. I respectfully ask you to please stand with me, with the Republicans of NY27, and with all the people of the district and call for him to resign now.