Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) used campaign funds to pay legal bills while he faced investigation for alleged insider trading for more than a year, according to a CNBC report.
Collins was arrested Wednesday after a federal grand jury indicted him on insider trading charges as well as lying to federal agents.
Collins and two co-defendants, including his son Cameron, surrendered to authorities Manhattan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New York’s Southern District.
They pleaded not guilty in federal court and bail for each was set at $500,000.
Before his arrest, Chris Collins was under investigation by congressional ethics committee since last year.
According to the CNBC article, Federal Election Commission records show Collins' campaign has been paying up to $60,000 per month in legal services to prestigious law firm Baker Hostetler. The firm is representing Collins in the case.
It is legal to use campaign funds to pay for legal fees, but the question remains whether Collins' campaign supporters knew their donations would be used in his legal fight. While it is legal to use campaign funds to pay for legal fees, it's not clear whether Collins' constituents and supporters were aware that donations were being used to assist his legal fight.
A spokesperson for Collins' legal team confirmed that campaign cash was used for the investigation by the congressional ethics committee, but that Collins will be paying for future legal bills out of his own pocket.