From the Morning Memo:

Opponents of Rep. Chris Collins saw an opening and quickly took the opportunity to condemn the Western New York Republican.

A report from the Office of Congressional Ethics, which was released as part of the House Ethics Committee investigation, suggested Collins may have violated House rules – and possibly federal law – in his dealings with the Australian-based pharmaceutical firm Innate Immunotherapeutics.

Turn NY-27 Blue, a coalition of Democratic committees and grassroots organizations within the congressional district, sent out a press release blasting Collins shortly after the report went public. The group is actively recruiting a Democratic opponent to run against Collins in next year’s mid-term elections, and they insisted the congressman’s days in office are numbered.

“It has never been more obvious that the term ‘Representative’ is misapplied when it comes to Chris Collins, and the decision released today by the House Ethics Committee to continue its investigation of him reinforces that,” said Judith Hunter, the Livingston County Democratic Chair.

“His actions prove that his priorities are his own bottom line and those of his cronies’, not the interests of the hard-working voters of New York 27.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also said it’s looking forward to finding out how voters will react to the allegations against Collins next November.

There is substantial reason to believe that multimillionaire Chris Collins has shamelessly and unapologetically abused his position to enrich himself and his Republican colleagues, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. How do Western New Yorkers feel about Rep. Collins possibly breaking federal law by engaging in insider trading?” spokesperson Evan Lukaske asked.

Finally, an organization classifying itself as an “ad hoc coalition of Western New York Resistance groups” sent an open letter to the congressman that included a list of “general moral precepts” to help guide him through his remaining time in office.

They included:

  • Thou shalt resign from all boards and divest from all businesses that create the appearance of a conflict of interest.
  • Thou shalt represent all of thine constituents, not just the ones who voted for you.
  • Thou shalt not bear false witness against thine constituents, thine press outlets, or thine political opponents.

For his part, Collins has consistently refuted claims he did anything wrong as the company’s largest investor. 

The congressman’s attorney said the recommendation by OCE for further review because there was substantial evidence Collins shared non-public information and took or requested official actions to benefit the company was a “result of a tortured interpretation of reality and also bespeaks a misunderstanding of the facts, the law, or both, and should be rejected.”