Ethics investigation raised concerns before Collins' criminal charges

Rep. Chris Collins was under scrutiny for alleged ethics violations prior to the criminal charges filed this week.

(WHAM) -- Congressman Chris Collins has long denied any wrongdoing, but an ethics watchdog group raised serious concerns early last year.

The report by the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended further review by the House Ethics Committee, writing, “There is a substantial reason to believe that Representative Collins shared material nonpublic information in the purchase of Innate stock, in violation of house rules, standards of conduct, and federal law."

The report landed in the lap of the House Ethics Committee last October, but thus far there’s been no further action.

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price also recently sold the same stock. Price was questioned about it during his confirmation hearing.

Senator Murray: “Congressman Price, in our meeting you informed me that you made these purchases based on conversations with Representative Collins. Is that correct?”

Rep. Price: “No, but...”

Senator Murray: “That is what you said to me in my office.”

Rep. Price: “What I believe I said to you was that I learned of the company from Congressman Collins."

Thursday, Congressman Tom Reed was asked on CNN if his colleague should resign.

"Well, that's obviously up to Chris and his family to go through these difficult decisions they are going to have to face. These are serious allegations and I recognize the seriousness of the allegations. Ultimately, that decision rests with him and his family,” said Congressman Reed.

Reed did concede that a sitting member of Congress should not sit on the board of a publicly-traded company and profit from that.

"Obviously, any type of conflict of interest, we need to do a better job in Congress to send the message to the people that we’re making sure the integrity of the House is in place and that no one is above the law,” said Reed.

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