House speaker boots indicted lawmaker from committee

FILE - In this July 19, 2016 file photo, Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY. speaks in Cleveland. Collins was indicted on charges that he used inside information about a biotechnology company to make illicit stock trades. The charges were announced and the indictment unsealed on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that he was removing an indicted congressman from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and prodded his chamber’s ethics panel to pursue “a prompt and thorough investigation” of the lawmaker.

Ryan issued his statement Wednesday after federal prosecutors charged Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., with insider securities trading. He said he was taking the actions even though the courts will have to decide whether the western New York lawmaker is guilty of the allegations.

“Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust,” said Ryan, R-Wis.

The House Ethics Committee acknowledged last August that it had received a report from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which urged an investigation of Collins’ actions. The Ethics Committee formally acknowledged its investigation in October.

Advertisement

The advocacy group Public Citizen had claimed Collins was potentially involved in insider trading of shares of Innate Immunotherapeutics, which was experimenting with a drug for treating multiple sclerosis.

A seat on the Energy and Commerce panel is highly coveted because of its wide jurisdiction. It’s the only major committee on which Collins serves.

___

This story has been corrected to show that committee received report urging investigation in August, formally acknowledged investigation in October.