New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins is dropping out of the race for reelection after facing charges earlier this week of insider trading and lying to federal agents.
Collins announced on Twitter Saturday that he is suspending his campaign in New York’s 27th Congressional District after “extensive discussions” with his family and friends in the past few days. Undoubtedly, those discussions included Republican Party leaders who are deeply concerned that Democrats will take over the House, and possibly the Senate, in the upcoming midterm elections.
Collins, an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and one of the wealthiest lawmakers, rightly expressed concern that Democrats would attempt to impeach Trump should they wrest control of Congress from the Republicans in November.
“Democrats are laser focused on taking back the House, electing Nancy Pelosi Speaker and then launching impeachment proceedings against President Trump. They 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,” Collins said in the statement.
He added that he would “fill out the remaining few months” of his term.
On Wednesday, Collins, his son, and the father of his son’s fiancée were charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements to investigators over a ridiculously blatant scheme to profit from inside information about a failed drug trial sponsored by an Australian biotech company. Collins is a shareholder in that company, Innate Immunotherapies, and sits on its board.
Collins allegedly made some of those illicit calls to his son from the White House lawn during a picnic last year.
According to CNN, citing a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York, the congressman could face 150 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
This would be a dramatic turn of events for the wealthy lawmaker, whose estimated net worth as of 2015 was $66.5 million, half of which came from pharmaceutical and health industry investments, according to Newsweek. Of those, Collins held about $15 million in stocks from Innate.
On Wednesday, Collins and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. He said at the time that he would remain on the ballot, a pledge that lasted only three days.