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chris collins

April 3, 2020 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, news, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Today, NY-27th congressional candidate Nate McMurray voiced his opposition to a delayed sentence and potential pardon for former GOP Representative Chris Collins.

Yesterday, a federal judge granted a two-month delay for the prison surrender of Collins, who in January was sentenced to serve 26 months in prison for conspiracy to commit securities fraud and lying to the FBI. Collins’ lawyers argued that he has a high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

“No average citizen would be allowed this preferential treatment over and over again," McMurray said. "Collins’ high-priced lawyers bought him another two months of freedom. Chris Collins broke the law numerous times and disgraced Western New York and he has left this region without a leader during an unprecedented crisis.

“Collins’ legal team is attempting to seek a pardon for after the June 23rd election. My opponents Chris Jacobs, Stefan Mychajliw and Beth Parlato must stand up and say this is wrong. All three of them were either silent when Chris Collins ran or openly campaigned for him. Such behavior has to end now.”

February 10, 2020 - 2:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

The news division of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. has released an in-depth documentary about Chris Collins and his insider trading of the Sydney-based company Innate Immunotherapeutics.

It contains new -- at least new us -- as well as previously reported but largely overlooked information about the Collins, the trade, the company, and, most importantly, Australian law, and how Collins and Innate allegedly broke it.

The documentary also suggests, though doesn't spell it out, that Innate was itself a fraudulent scheme (while making no suggestion that Collins was aware of the scheme; rather, in fact, he may have fallen prey to it).

Jerry Zremski, the Washington bureau chief for the Buffalo News, and Michael Caputo, a political and marketing consultant who is a longtime friend of the former congressman, make several appearances in the documentary.

January 23, 2020 - 2:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democrat running in the special election in NY-27, issued the following statement criticizing the rumored presidential pardon for disgraced former Congressmember Chris Collins, who resigned from Congress following pleading guilty to felony insider trading. Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison on Friday. So far, 14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned.

“President Trump should not further the injustice inflicted on Western New York," McMurray said. "His own Justice Department pursued this case and won a sentence that includes prison time for Mr. Collins, a convicted felon. This should not be a Democratic or Republican issue; I urge all Republican candidates in this race, elected officials, and party leaders to stand unified in defense of the rule of law in America.

"Collins was a wealthy politician who acted as if laws don’t apply to him. We all need to tell him that America's laws apply to everyone. He must pay his debt to society and not have it wiped away because of his political support for the president. I know that these are the same Republican insiders who enabled and protected Collins, long after we all knew he was guilty while working people paid for his salary and pension. Now is the time for them to do what’s right. Join me.”

January 17, 2020 - 7:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray, news.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, Democrat running to fill the vacancy left by Chris Collins in NY-27, has issued the following statement on Collins’ sentencing for insider trading related crimes earlier today.

“Years of lies by Collins and those who justified his crimes end like this. Tears. An empty seat. It’s a sad moment. No sentence can heal the damage caused. The sting will linger.

Remember this. Who brought us here? So when we look back, we will see how far we’ve come. I'm heading to my son's basketball game, watching a movie with my family, going to sleep, and waking up tomorrow to continue the fight to restore integrity to NY-27 and Washington.”

January 17, 2020 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

For Rep. Chris Collins sobbed in court, the Washington Post reports, while his attorneys argued for leniency, before a Federal judge sentenced Collins to 26 months in prison for engaging in insider trading and lying to the FBI.

“I have no excuse," Collins said sobbing. "I tarnished my reputation."

The prosecution sought a sentence of 46 to 57 months in a Federal penitentiary.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Nicholas argued that Collins deserved prison time because he organized the conspiracy among his family members to help them avoid losing money on the stock, lied to federal agents about it and then announced he would seek re-election to his seat. His attorneys pointed to Collins’ record of public service and said the crime was an isolated decision made in the heat of the moment.

The Post reports: “I cannot face my constituents. What I have done has marked me for life," Collins said.

The NY-27 has been without representation in Washington since Collins resigned in September, after winning re-election while proclaiming his innocence and vowing to "clear my name."

There will likely be a special election to fill the seat April 29, a little more than two months before the scheduled 2020 primary for the office.

January 14, 2020 - 11:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, notify, chris collins, NY-27.

collinspresseraug82018b.jpg

The man who proclaimed his innocence for months, even while running for re-election to Congress, only to eventually plead guilty to insider trading charges, should spend up to five years in prison, according to his prosecutors.

The Washington Post reports that Manhatten U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is asking a judge to send Chris Collins, now residing in Florida, to federal prison for an extended sentence "to promote respect for the law" and "to provide just punishment."

Collins will be sentenced on Friday.

The former NY-27 representative got into trouble after regulators realized his son Cameron Collins dumped more than $700,000 in stock in an Australian company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, just before news went public of a failed clinical trial.

Cameron's now-former future father-in-law also engaged in a sell-off of the stock at the same time.

An investigation by the FBI revealed that Chris Collins, the first congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president, called Cameron from the White House lawn minutes after receiving news of the failed trial from the company CEO. Chris Collins was one of the company's largest shareholders and served on the board of directors.

Collins later lied to the FBI about his involvement in the insider trading scheme.

After campaigning with a promise that he would be fully exonerated, and refusing public appearances and interview requests throughout much of the 27th District, the multimillionaire pled guilty in Federal Court in September.

Both Cameron and Stephen Zarsky, the father of Cameron's one-time fiancée, have also entered guilty pleas.

In a prior court filing, attorneys for Chris Collins pleaded for leniency from the judge, stating Collins “has paid a heavy price for his crimes. He is, and will forever be, tortured with the knowledge that his actions have caused his son, to whom he always aspired to be a role model, to live with the stain of a felony conviction, and perhaps serve time in prison."

Berman doesn't think Collins has had paid a sufficient price for his crimes.

“As a member of Congress at the time that he committed the offenses in this case … Collins was better situated than almost anyone else to understand the societal importance of following the law,” the prosecutor said his filing. "Collins came to embody the cynical idea that those in power who make the laws are not required to follow them.”

Photo: File photo of Chris Collins and his wife, Mary Sue, at an August 2018 press conference in Buffalo where Collins proclaimed his innocence following his arrest in New York City and then refused to take questions from reporters.

October 10, 2019 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray, running for Congress in NY-27, is calling for Chris Collins, who recently resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI, to return the Congressional salary he has collected since his indictment in August 2018.

McMurray sent a letter to Judge Vernon S. Broderick asking the judge to consider ordering Collins to return his salary and forfeit his pension as a part of sentencing.

While calling Collins’ case “inherently tragic” and expressing sympathy for Collins’ family and victims, McMurray also pointed out that Collins had profited from his deception of voters in his district and deserved to lose his salary as a result.

“Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. With his reelection predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension,” McMurray wrote.

After months of proclaiming his innocence, Collins changed his plea to “guilty” last week and admitted in court that he knew what he was doing was illegal.

A copy of McMurray's letter can be seen below:

Honorable Judge Broderick,

I am writing to you to express my thoughts regarding the sentencing of Chris Collins. 

Last year, I ran and lost a race to replace Mr. Collins in the United States House of Representatives. I am proud of that campaign and our opposition to Mr. Collins. I say this to fully disclose any perceived bias or subjectivity. I share my comments with full sincerity and an understanding of the possible consequences of my words. 

First, I want to acknowledge that much about this case is inherently tragic. A district has been denied its due representation in Congress; an individual of great promise, a fellow Eagle Scout no less, betrayed his constituents and will forever have his name tainted; a son followed his father’s request and now stands on the verge of incarceration and a lifetime defined by a criminal act not of his own creation. I have true sympathy for everyone caught up in Mr. Collins’ web of illegal activity and look forward to our district moving on.

Nevertheless, justice must be served, and Mr. Collins’ actions and character must be examined. Following the indictment in August of 2018, Mr. Collins continually lied to voters by proclaiming his innocence and ultimately won re-election. As a member of Congress, Mr. Collins said he worked for his donors—not the people of Batavia, Hamburg, Canandaigua, Warsaw, or the countless other small towns and communities within New York’s 27th District. Following his guilty plea last week, Mr. Collins has admitted that his actions were in fact illegal; that he knew they were illegal; and that his claims of innocence were false. He knowingly abused the trust of the people of Western New York.

I stand with many who are angered by Mr. Collins’ actions, but I find some discomfort celebrating anyone’s demise, even his. However, with his re-election predicated on an admittedly false claim of innocence, I urge that in sentencing, you recognize this fraud on the taxpayers of this nation and the people of New York’s 27th Congressional District and require him, in addition to whatever other penalties you deem appropriate, to repay his salary from the date of his indictment until his resignation and forfeit his taxpayer-funded pension.

Sincerely, 

Nathan D. McMurray

October 1, 2019 - 5:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, crime, news.
lyingchriscollinsaug2018.jpg
    Chris Collins in Buffalo, Aug. 2018

As part of his guilty plea in Federal Court in New York City this afternoon, former Congressman Chris Collins, who resigned his NY-27 seat yesterday, admitted that his actions, in tipping his son to a failed drug trial, were "anything but what a model citizen would take.”

He told the judge, “I regret my actions beyond anything that I could explain today.”

Collins reportedly pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and making false statements.

The case against Collins began with reporting by Jerry Zremski of the Buffalo News, who was curious about the congressman's involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics and so he began digging into public documents that raised questions about Collins behavior.

At the time, Collins dismissed Zremski's reporting as "fake news" but the stories eventually led to an FBI investigation as well as a House Ethics Committee investigation. 

In August 2018, Collins was indicted on numerous charges stemming from his insider trading activities, most notably, a phone call he made to his son Cameron Christopher Collins from the White House lawn in June 2018 where Collins shared insider information about a failed drug trial.

This led to Cameron Collins allegedly dumping some $800,000 worth of stock as well as suspicious stock trades by people associated with the Collins family.   

Chris Collins, who was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president, denied the charges and repeatedly lied to constituents about his innocence, claiming he would be "fully exonerated." He narrowly won reelection in November 2018 while maintaining the fiction that he was innocent. 

Today in Federal Court he admitted to the White House phone call and said that he was "shocked and devastated" by the news of a failed drug trial and informed his son while in an "emotional state."

Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Geoffery Berman, a Trump appointee, said:

"Moments ago former New York Congressman Christopher Collins pled guilty to insider trading; and the lying to the FBI in order to cover up his insider trading scheme. Collins admitted to among other things illegally tipping his son while standing on the White House lawn. By virtue of his position, Collins helped write the laws of this country and acted as if the law didn't apply to him.

"This courthouse is a representation personifies to incorporate the ideal of equal justice under law. No one is above the law. That is because of our office's commitment to the pursuit of that ideal that Collins is now a convicted felon and no longer a member of Congress."

Now that Collins is out of office, it will be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to call for a special election or let the sit vacant through 2020.

New York City reporting for this story courtesy WXXI in Rochester.

September 30, 2019 - 5:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

Nate McMurray has issued a statement following reports that Rep. Chris Collins will be resigning.

“The real victims of Collins' crimes are the people of his district that he repeatedly lied to about his guilt. Collins and Republican party insiders robbed his constituents of the representation they need on important issues like the rising cost of healthcare, the opioid epidemic, and the fight for good-paying jobs.

"They all failed us, so I’m going to keep talking about the critical issues Western New Yorkers face every day, because that’s what public service should be about, working to make other people’s lives just a little bit better."

September 30, 2019 - 2:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in chris collins, news.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Associated Press at about 1:57 p.m. today reported that Rep. Chris Collins of New York is resigning from Congress ahead of his expected guilty plea on insider trading charges, according to Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s office.

UPDATED 2:34 p.m.: A Change of Plea Hearing for Collins is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in Courtroom 518 before Judge Vernon S. Broderick in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, located in the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse at 40 Centre St. in lower Manhattan. The Change of Plea Hearing was entered on the court docket today.

More T/K.

August 22, 2019 - 12:06pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) is pushing the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R. 4194), bipartisan legislation which designates “9-8-8” as the universal telephone number for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.

This system currently operates through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Veterans' Crisis Line. Congressman Collins is an original cosponsor of the legislation in the House.

“When experiencing an emergency, everyone knows to dial 9-1-1, but now those dealing with a mental health crisis will have an easy to remember number that will provide them with the help they need,” Congressman Collins said.

“This legislation is crucial in saving the lives of Americans all over the United States and end the stigma surrounding mental health.”

This legislation authorizes states to collect a fee limited to supporting local crisis centers that are affiliated within the national network area that funds the suicide hotline services similar to that of existing emergency services.

Also this legislation will set a deadline of one year for the FCC to complete the nationwide upgrade to ensure all lines have access to 9-8-8.

August 16, 2019 - 9:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins, Nate McMurray, politics, video.
Video Sponsor

Rep. Chris Collins paid a visit Thursday to the Child Advocacy Center in Batavia (more on that later) and after his visit we spoke with him about his campaign plans and his criminal case.

August 10, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, NY-27, chris collins, video.
Video Sponsor

Today, Nate McMurray, who narrowly lost to Chris Collins in the NY-27 congressional race in 2018, formally announced he will seek the office in 2020.

One of the first things did after finalizing his decision to run was call The Batavian and ask for an interview, so we met this afternoon at The Coffee Press.

McMurray said that while other Republicans have said they are mounting a primary challenge to Collins, Collins is the front-runner and there is no reason to believe Collins won't be on the general election ballot in November. Collins, McMurray said, is the person he's running against.

"I think a lot of people always assume he's going to give up or go away, but he's proven that he doesn't go away easily," McMurray said. "I think that he needs to hold onto this seat to maintain his freedom. It's the best leverage point he has in his trial (on Federal insider trading charges). I think until he's gone you have to assume he's the candidate."

Collins has to go, McMurray said, because with Federal charges pending and a congressional ethics investigation that is still open, Collins is unable to effectively represent the people of the 27th District.

In 2018, McMurray opposed efforts to impeach Donald Trump. Since the release of the Mueller Report, he's changed his position. He said he realizes this stand may cost him votes in this district.

"Anyone who respects the rule of law and reads (the report), as I've read it, you'll come away very troubled," said McMurray, who is an attorney. "You'll come away thinking that Congress and the Senate have a duty to act. They really shouldn't be playing politics with this. It's too important.

"And I think that whether you support President Trump or not, if read that report, you're going to see a portrait of a man who tried to obstruct justice, who tried to manipulate the law, and who thought he was above the law."

August 7, 2019 - 1:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, kathy hochul, video.
Video Sponsor

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she has no interest in running for Congress again, not even after redistricting in 2022 because she thinks she is having a more positive impact for the people of Western New York in Albany than she could have in Washington, D.C.

Hochul represented WNY in Congress in 2011 and 2012 before losing a close election to Rep. Chris Collins.

She did say, however, if she ran this year, she would win.

Collins, fighting a federal criminal indictment and facing a House Ethics Committee investigation, has made no official announcement regarding his reelection plans. But he has transferred $500,000 of personal funds to his campaign. He is facing at least two primary challengers and if he runs the Democrats may send Nate McMurray up against him again, who narrowly lost to Collins in 2018.  

Regardless of who runs against Collins, Hochul said Collins will soon be known as "the former congressman" because "he will lose the election."

Hochul was in Batavia for the announcement of a new workforce development program. We will have more coverage on that later.

July 16, 2019 - 11:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, immigration, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins introduced The Red Light Act, his new legislation that withholds federal highway funds from any state that grants driver licenses or identification cards to illegal aliens present in the United States.

Congressman Collins' legislation comes on the heels of Governor Andrew Cuomo recent signing of the Green Light Bill into law last month. This new state law grants driver's license privileges to illegal immigrants.

“Once again, Governor Cuomo has put his socialist agenda ahead of the safety of American citizens,” said Congressman Collins. “Governor Cuomo should be enforcing laws that protect Americans instead of supporting those who break our laws. Citizens should feel safe behind the wheel, but now in New York, there will be a strong likelihood that illegals could be driving uninsured and unregistered vehicles wreaking havoc on our roads.”

"Cuomo has threatened the lives of New Yorkers who are legal U.S. citizens with this legislation,” added Collins. "If he wants to help illegal immigrants avoid the law while threatening highway safety, he can pay for it.”

If enacted, the Collins’ legislation would withhold funds beginning in the fiscal year 2020 and each fiscal year thereafter. Any funds withheld from noncompliant states will be appropriated to states that do not allow illegal immigrants to have a driver's license or identification cards.

July 10, 2019 - 5:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

End Citizens United (ECU) today named Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27) to the Big Money 20, the group’s top targets to defeat in 2020. ECU’s Big Money 20 campaign is focused on defeating incumbents who benefit most from the corrupt establishment in Washington by showing voters how politicians like Rep. Collins put corporate special interest donors ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent. 

“Chris Collins is one of the most corrupt members of Congress and has committed several federal crimes,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Not only has Collins taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in special interest money, but he has betrayed the trust of his district by using his Congressional seat to give big breaks to the pharmaceutical companies in which he has personally invested millions.

"Meanwhile, New Yorkers with preexisting conditions are seeing their coverage threatened and drug prices skyrocket. Chris Collins is watching out for his bank account and his Big Pharma donors, not New Yorkers. End Citizens United and our members look forward to defeating Chris Collins in 2020.” 

The Big Money 20 aims to educate voters about incumbents who represent the worst of Washington and rally support for reforming the political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who take money from corporate special interests, mega-donors, and industries like Big Pharma and Big Oil and then put those interests ahead of their constituents. 

Collins and his son owned approximately one-fifth of an Australian pharmaceutical company called Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins convinced five other GOP lawmakers to invest in the company — all while pushing legislation aimed at helping the company succeed. When the company’s one drug failed a clinical trial, Collins breached confidentiality and informed his son who tipped off several other Innate investors and sold millions of shares.

In August 2018, Collins was arrested and charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and making false statements after lying to the FBI in an attempt to cover up his crimes. But this corruption was nothing new. Collins has been called “Big Pharma’s biggest supporter in Congress.”

He abused the power of his office in order to boost Innate and his other Big Pharma donors, which have given him more than $72,000 by crusading for provisions that would save Innate millions of dollars and make it easier for them to be granted FDA status.

Collins also voted for the GOP tax bill which gave billions in tax giveaways to corporations and admitted to a reporter that his mega-donors were saying to get the bill passed or “don’t ever call [them] again.” 

In the 2018 cycle, End Citizens United helped defeat 82 percent of the Big Money 20 targets. ECU will connect its more than 550,000 members to endorsed candidates who are challenging Big Money 20 targets.

ECU has conducted extensive polling and research showing that voters across the political spectrum support getting big money out of politics. ECU is a traditional political action committee (PAC) with more than four million members, including 6,300 in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

ECU raised $44 million in the 2018 last cycle and helped elect more than 150 members to the 116th Congress, including two new U.S. senators and 58 new U.S. representatives. The reform group is entirely grassroots-funded with an average donation of just $14.

NOTE: We asked spokesman Sayed Bawadden about End Citizens United, and specifically if they also listed Democratic office holders, and he responded: "We're a Democratic PAC focused on campaign finance reform, so we only target Republicans."

Also, according to campaign finance disclosures, Collins has raised only $5,000 for the 2020 campaign.

June 27, 2019 - 1:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, news, Medal of Honor, chris collins, NY-27.
Video Sponsor

On Monday, Rep. Chris Collins gave a short floor speech in the U.S. House of Representatives recognizing and honoring David Bellavia on receiving the Medal of Honor. The Batavian asked for and received a video copy of the speech to share with our readers.

Also, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who once represented our area in Congress and knows David as a result, issued the following statement on Twitter

All of New York is proud of the courageous actions of WNY native Staff Sgt. David Bellavia while under fire.

 

His actions saved lives and his Medal of Honor is well deserved.

June 20, 2019 - 6:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Health Care, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) introduced legislation which provides a financial solution for uninsured Americans seeking medical procedures by hospitals.

The Protect the Uninsured Act of 2019 would amend Title XI of the Social Security Act to require hospitals and critical access hospitals to offer the uninsured individual access to the lowest negotiated price for any service or procedure.

“Hospitals are supposed to take care of everyone, the uninsured are often saddled with debt far beyond what they can pay while others are receiving steep discounts for the same procedures,” Collins said. “People are putting their health at risk by avoiding important procedures due to inflated costs while hospitals are writing off uncollected debts as charity work."

Hospitals negotiate discounts with insurance companies to determine costs of procedures or services they are willing to accept. This negotiated discount is subtracted from an inflated total cost of a procedure or service, the individual then pays a copay while the insurance company covers the remaining expenses.

Under current law, an uninsured patient is forced to cover the full cost of the procedure with no discounts, leading to uninsured patients mounting debt or avoiding necessary care.

This legislation will provide financial relief to those who are uninsured by allowing the individual to receive the lowest discount negotiated with an insurance company for a procedure or service by a hospital.

May 18, 2019 - 1:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

One thing Rep. Chris Collins told The Batavian before the 2018 campaign season is that the one thing he appreciated about The Batavian is that we may ask him tough questions but we always reported his views accurately.

Then after he was indicted on insider trading charges he refused to talk to us. That was baffling given his previous praise of our reporting. On Friday, we asked him about his decision to avoid almost all media coverage in 2018. He said that was a campaign strategy but that things would be different if he runs in 2020.

We should trust him on that promise, he said.

"I am not hiding from anyone," Collins said. "I'm talking to you today. Am I not answering every question you're asking? For two months I was running a very difficult election with a strategy to win and my strategy was correct."

Once it was clear in 2018  that Collins was cutting off access to The BatavianThe Batavian publicly announced that it wouldn't run his campaign press releases unless and until he agreed to an interview.

The response?

Crickets.

"For those two months you weren't part of my strategy," Collins said. "And I won or I wouldn't be here talking with you today."

Now, we're supposed to trust Collins.

Collins was indicted by the Federal prosecutors on a bevy of charges related to an alleged insider trading conspiracy on Aug. 9 and refused that day to take any questions from The Batavian and refused subsequent requests for interviews. The charges stemmed from his alleged tip to his son Cameron that a critical drug trial by a company he had pumped, Innate Therapeutics, had failed.

The target of Collins' ire, he said, however, wasn't The Batavian. It was the Buffalo News.

"I am out and about talking to you today and I've said I always will," Collins said. "Last year was a unique year with the Buffalo News being my primary opponent with a lot of fake news, a lot of biased news; a lot of distorted news. So I did make a decision, I wanted to win the election and I won the election and now I'm talking to you today. I'll talk to you wherever I am."

Pressed for examples of "fake news" from the Buffalo News, Collins said almost everything the paper reported about his relationship with Innate Therapeutics was inaccurate; that his work on the 21st Centuries Cure Act was falsely reported; that his attempts to get drugs to market quicker were misrepresented, as well as his attempts to get more dollars diverted to cancer research.

"They reported that was all to benefit a company I was invested in," Collins said. "It was absurd. They reported that Tom Price and I got special pricing on a stock, which was also totally not true, and was so reported by the Office of Congressional Ethics. They reported these things time and again. I don't want to get into a litany but primarily if you read a Buffalo News story, the bias just pours out."

He said the Buffalo News has been reporting about him inaccurately for 12 years, going back to his stint as Erie County Chief Executive.

The one representative The Batavian knew to reach out to directly to seek comment from about Buffalo News reporting on Chris Collins was political reporter Jerry Zremski who said in an email, "We stand by our stories."

Collins supports Donald Trump. Donald Trump has admitted that he has redefined the phrase "fake news" to mean any news report he doesn't like, no matter if it is true. Collins said that is not how Trump uses the term. However, none of this was reassuring to The Batavian that in 2020 he will be any more accessible than he was in 2018.

So, this exchange:

The Batavian: "Can I get a promise that as long as I always report you accurately, I can get an interview with you in the future?"

Chris Collins: "Yes."

So, we'll see if that is "fake news."

See also: Chris Collins says that if he runs he will beat any primary or general election challenger

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