There is "substantial reason to believe" that Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., violated ethics standards and federal laws through his actions with biotech firm Innate Immunotherapeutics, a company with which he is invested, the Office of Congressional Ethics announced Thursday.
The report disclosed that in addition to meeting with researchers to help Innate, Collins also disclosed nonpublic information regarding purchasing Innate stock with investors. As a result, Collins could face ethics sanctions or potential criminal prosecution.
The ethics offices requested the House Ethics Committee investigate conduct an investigation. Meanwhile, the House Ethics panel released a statement Thursday indicating it was reviewing Collins' actions.
Collins' lawyers deny there were any ethical violations.
"Rep. Collins has done nothing improper, and his cooperation and candor during the OCE review process confirm he has nothing to hide," they wrote in a letter released Thursday by the Ethics Committee. "There is nothing in the record to suggest, let alone support, the conclusion that Rep. Collins violated House rules, standards of conduct, or federal law."
Collins was an outspoken supporter of President Trump during the 2016 campaign and has said his actions were not politically motivated. Collins is listed as the largest shareholder of Innate Immunotherapeutics on their website.
Innate Immunotherapeutics is an Australian firm that was creating a new therapy for multiple sclerosis. Additional investors include Collins' family, staff members, and colleagues including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.