A New York congressman will at least temporarily lose his seat on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee until insider trader charges against him are resolved, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday.
Ryan suspended Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) from the panel shortly after national news outlets reported the allegations. By afternoon it appeared Collins’ name had already disappeared from the members list on the committee’s website.
The House panel has oversight over federal agencies including the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
“While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said.
Collins was named in a previously sealed indictment, made public by Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. The three-term congressman is accused of using insider information to dump large stock holdings in an Australian biotechnology company in June 2017. A member of the company’s board of directors, Collins allegedly unloaded the stock before it became publicly known that a product to treat secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis had failed a vital clinical trial.
Collins faces multiple counts of securities fraud and related charges, which he denies. “We will answer the charges filed against Congressman Collins in Court and will mount a vigorous defense to clear his good name,” Collins’ attorneys said in a statement.