Collins: He’s Running


Dave Greber tweeted this Wednesday afternoon, and it perfectly and succinctly sums up Chris Collins’ (NY-27) sense of honor and duty, if not consistency: 

No one ever got rich betting that Chris Collins would put his constituents or the interests of others before his own self-interest. 

This is especially true for the poor saps who invested in Innate Immunotherapeutics at his urging, and didn’t get his heads-up call about the company’s failed M.S. drug trial

Collins is under felony indictment, accused of lying to the FBI and engaging in securities fraud. There are images of him calling his son from the White House’s South Lawn on the day Innate confidentially informed its board members that its key drug trial was a failure. Almost immediately after that call, his son started dumping Innate stock, and urging others to do the same. Allegedly

So, this hit e-mailboxes Wednesday: 

This man is currently under arrest. He’s out on bail, but in custody. He’s surrendered his passport; he’s a moderate flight risk. He is subject to a grand jury’s felony indictment, charges filed by Donald Trump’s hand-picked prosecutor. After weeks of nonsense from the Republican chairmen in NY-27 about possibly replacing Collins on the ballot with bright, service-oriented, humble luminaries such as Carl Paladino or Stefan Mychajliw, Collins just yelled “psych” and stayed in the race because his lawyers told him to. 

No one cares about his attacks on Nate McMurray, or on a “Canadian” health care that is so popular in that country that Canadians named Tommy Douglas – the guy who came up with their Medicare program – the Greatest Canadian of All Time. “Radical leftist” is one of the many attacks on Nate McMurray the Republicans are opaquely testing out with these obscene, borderline racist, false, defamatory, push-polls: 

This sort of thing is an outrage. Every reporter covering this race needs to ask Collins about these push-polls. Who paid for them? Who approved them? Who wrote the questions? Who’s running the poll? What’s with the attacks about Asia? 

His lawyers, Collins will listen to. That’s more listening than he’s ever done with his constituents in all his years in office. Even a Collins partisan would have to concede that defending oneself against a federal felony indictment is one hell of a distraction for a Congressman. 

Meanwhile, Democrat Nate McMurray probably can’t believe his luck here. Cook’s has upped this from likely Republican to leans Republican. Before Collins’ arrest, it was solid Republican. 

Like I said.

Here is the rest of McMurray’s statement: 

“It looks like the criminal is returning to the scene of the crime – and I’m not just talking about insider trading, lying to the FBI and everything else he’s been accused of – I mean the derelict of duty he did by ignoring his constituents and their interests for every second of his elected life.

I’m curious to know what Mr. Collins means by ‘actively campaign’ because he hasn’t talked to his constituents, hasn’t held town halls, and has been hiding in his penthouse since the FBI arrested him. Now he thinks that the voters of this district who are getting hurt by a trade war, are struggling to make ends meet, and know that Washington is more corrupt than ever, he thinks they’re going to trust him? Give me a break. He looks out for himself. And maybe his donors.

Chris Collins has been charged with a crime. He can’t buy his way back into his job.

Chris Collins thinks the rules don’t apply to him. They do.

Chris Collins represents everything that’s wrong with Washington.

Chris, if you’re listening from Manhattan, here are a few words you may remember, ‘lock him up’ ‘drain the swamp’. I hear your next court appearance is on October 11. I bet some folks from NY-27 may take a road trip.

Every single one of McMurray’s points is valid. Chris Collins is not a man who sought elected office to serve people, but to serve his own self-interest. It was true when he was County Executive, and it’s been clear since he became the third in a spree of Congressional Republicans from Clarence disgracing themselves. 

Chris Collins was the first Congressman to endorse Donald Trump, who ran on a platform that included “draining the swamp”. Chris Collins is the swamp, and that swamp has only grown deeper and more fetid since Trump came to power. It is up to us – the electorate in NY-27 – to drain our little, acrid corner of the D.C. swamp and send Collins back home, where he can devote all of his energy to defending himself in court. 

Winning #NY27 on a Technicality


Here’s a quote from Erie County Republican Committee Chairman Nick Langworthy, which I assume he said seriously and not at all as a joke

“My opposition went on television saying they were going to sue us in every direction because they want to win this seat on a technicality,” Langworthy said. “They know damn well that Nate McMurray can’t beat a clean Republican candidate. But I am confident that we have Congressman Collin’s cooperation, as he said to you, in your exclusive interview, but also that we have the best legal team in the state of New York, in the U.S., on this. I have confidence that we’re going to work as one and make that substitute happen.”

What this is all about is the farcical and unprecedented effort the Republicans are considering to replace Chris Collins on the November ballot in the race for NY-27 with someone not under felony indictment.  Channel 4’s Dave Greber interviewed Collins and his opponent, Democrat Nate McMurray, this week, and they were eye-openers. There was Collins in his office – one last stage-managed event – whining about how the FBI came to his home (which one?) at 6 in the morning to chat about insider trading. The transcript is here; here’s a telling excerpt: 

When did you first learn of the federal charges, when were you first tipped off about that?

When they knocked on my door on April 25 at 6 AM.

What was that like. I mean, you’ve never faced anything like this in the past?

That was the shock of all shocks. To have, as it turns out, two agents at your door at 6 AM, saying they just want to talk. As it turns out, they don’t read you your rights, they don’t tell you you could have an attorney, they don’t tell you while you’re there. It’s just, a we’d like to talk. And the next thing you know, of course you’re innocent, you invite them in. I’m in a bathrobe, and bare feet and just got out of bed and I chatted with them for 45 minutes or so. They wanted to know about my involvement, and I shared everything from A-to-Z. And then at the end of it all, they said, oh by the way, we have a subpoena for you.


“Wow”, indeed.

Now, imagine you’re a multi-millionaire businessman and you’re already the subject of an ethical investigation in the House of Representatives, to which you were elected; you know you’re under scrutiny. It’s April 25th and the FBI is at your door at 6:00 a.m., but Collins plays victim, suggesting that something shady went on. He wasn’t arrested on April 25th, and the FBI won’t read you your rights or tell you you have a right to an attorney until and unless you’re in custody. Collins should know this as a lawmaker, but also as a person under felony indictment – he wasn’t arrested until mid-August. 

It doesn’t really matter who you are – common sense would dictate that, if the FBI shows up at your house at 6:00 a.m., you ask to see their warrant. You call a lawyer. You don’t just invite them in for a chat; it’s not a social call. If literally anyone showed up unexpectedly at your door that early in the morning, you’d first call the cops or else ask to see the warrant. 

This was a campaign pitch – maybe for some unnamed Republican to replace Collins, but at least for a pardon. The Trump tchotchkes, (e.g., the “Fake News Network FNN mug behind Collins’ head), were the giveaway. 

I think Collins letting the FBI in to chat at 6:00 a.m. like he was expecting them is evidence of a guilty conscience. He knew why they were there; he knew the subject matter of their inquiry. He was trying to talk his way out of it; to throw his weight and prestige around to yet another bunch of poors. 

But look at the date – Collins was approached and subpoenaed by the FBI for allegations that he engaged in insider trading and fraud on April 25th. He was already under Congressional investigation for possible insider trading as early as October 2017

Shortly after the private placement purchase, legislation that Collins authored to speed up clinical trials of drugs was signed into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and the company’s stock price tripled shortly thereafter. The stock price plummeted in June, however, when the company announced its lead drug failed to help secondary multiple sclerosis patients in a clinical trial.

All of this was out in the open in 2017. The FBI came a-calling in April 2018. The Republicans – and Nick Langworthy – knew they had a problem to address a year ago. They didn’t; they ignored it. 

Petitions for Congress hit the street on March 6th, and were due in mid-April. The primary was in late June. Someone credible could have primaried Collins and taken the fight to him. Some Republican, surely, believes in the rule of law and that corrupt politicians under investigation shouldn’t be re-elected without a battle. But alas, none stepped up. They knew Collins was ethically dirty, but went with him anyway. 

The Republicans are banking on their ability to manufacture a phony, fraudulent “vacancy” by running Collins for some town position somewhere like Eden. Then they have a September 19th deadline to fill the “vacancy”. Then voila! Congressional candidate Carl Paladino or whatever other alt-right frotteur they can convince to run and self-fund. 

Except it’s a sham and a fraud. The “technicality” of which Mr. Langworthy complains isn’t whether McMurray lucked out by running against an incumbent who turned out to be crooked; Nate McMurray is running against an incumbent whom Langworthy knew – or should have known – at least by April was crooked. Langworthy bought this problem by going along with Collins’ own hubris. 

Here’s what Nate McMurray, the Democratic candidate, told Channel 4’s Dave Greber in an interview that aired Tuesday: 

Is that difficult for you to campaign, knowing that you are Nate Mcmurray potential he campaigning against a question mark? 

There is some challenges there for sure, but I will say this. I’m really campaigning against Team Collins, Team Collins and all those surrogates who supported him, propped him up and told you even to a few weeks ago, that this is someone you should vote for. When they knew better. So to the end of this campaign, I will be campaigning against that system, and I’ll be working to break the party machine that brought you Mr. Collins and told you to vote for him again and again and again. If I was a Republican voter, who donated to the party, who donated time to the party, who committed to the party, and I was taken advantage of in this way, I would simply give a protest vote for them, saying we need change. I would ask all those involved to fight against the system. They took advantage of you, they used to you, they exported you. It’s time for you to fight back. If you don’t fight back now, when you have a guy like Chris Collins endorsed to be your senator, and now you have this gamesmanship at the last hour to save the face of the party bosses, when will you stand up? It’s time for everyone to stand up and say look, business as usual must end. 

There’s no precedent for this. These whiny clowns were with Collins after October 2017, when a Congressional ethics board said Collins may have engaged in illegal conduct; they were with Collins after April 25th, when the FBI showed up at Collins’ door; they were with him right up until the indictments hit, and then they started scrambling to defraud the electorate. The deadline for Collins to decline the nomination passed on April 16th. As Buffalo Attorney Frank Housh explains on his law firm’s blog, 

…when a candidate seeks to disqualify himself from an office for which he was nominated but did not timely decline, he “must present a legal basis for doing so” other than being nominated for a different office. 

“Oh, shit a grand jury indicted me for securities fraud and lying to the FBI” is not a legal basis for disqualification. 

So, let’s swing back to Langworthy’s “poor me”. 

My opposition went on television saying they were going to sue us in every direction because they want to win this seat on a technicality,

The Democrats are going to sue your committee in “every direction” because you’re attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the electorate in NY-27. 

They know damn well that Nate McMurray can’t beat a clean Republican candidate.

Maybe you should have run one, then. Not now, in mid-September as part of some ham-handed, extra-legal do-over, but ab initio; from the get-go. 

But I am confident that we have Congressman Collins’ cooperation, as he said to you, in your exclusive interview, but also that we have the best legal team in the state of New York, in the U.S., on this.

Oh, yes. The best legal team actually in CHRISTENDOM. IN THE UNIVERSE. Collins’ “cooperation” merely means that he’s willing to participate in the fraud. I mean, participate in securities fraud, participate in electoral fraud; all in a day’s work for the worst Congressman in New York. 

I have confidence that we’re going to work as one and make that substitute happen.

Look who’s really trying to win on technicalities. 

Meanwhile, the Democrats have a fantastic and brilliant candidate who is neither under felony indictment, nor part of any other sort of electoral, financial, or legal fraud. If you think Langworthy’s bluster is as hilarious as I do, throw a couple of bucks Nate’s way, or volunteer to get the word out.