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chris collins

Disgraced ex-NY-27 representative back on Twitter

By Howard B. Owens

Please join me as I discuss my experience in politics, business, and prison. What do you all want to hear about? #businesscoach #BusinessNews #PrisonReform #prison

— Chris Collins (@realC_Collins) January 27, 2021

Chris Collins, the former Congressman for the GLOW region who admitted in Federal Court to illegal insider stock trading and lying to the FBI, has reemerged publicly after being pardoned last month by former President Donald Trump.

Collins has started a new Twitter account under the handle @realc_collins. In his first tweet Collins posted a video explaining that as a businessman, politician, and former convict, he is ready to share what he's learned with the social media world.

"I have a lot to share with my many years of experience in the business world, the political world, and just current affairs," Collins said. "I hope you will join me on my various social media platforms and we can have a communication going forward."

Collins represented Genesee County in Congress from 2013 to 2019. He was the first member of Congress in 2015 to endorse Trump for president. 

Following an FBI investigation in 2018, Collins and his son, Cameron Collins, were arrested Aug. 8, 2018. The senior Collins was accused of tipping Cameron to a failed drug trial for a publicly traded company that Collins served as a board member. Cameron and other associates then began dumping stock before the news of the failed trial was made public. 

For months, even while running for reelection, Collins denied any wrongdoing and vowed he would be vindicated at trial and then in September 2019, he resigned from Congress and entered a guilty plea in Federal Court.

In January 2020, Collins was sentenced to 26 months in prison. His term was delayed because of COVID-19 and his incarceration in a Federal prison in Florida didn't begin until October. Two months later he was released after being pardoned by Trump.

These are my 5 I’s for the #DepartmentOfInJustice #DOIJ

1. Incompetent
2. Inefficient
3. Insensitive
4. Indifferent
5. Inhumane

— Chris Collins (@realC_Collins) January 28, 2021

Trump pardon former NY-27 congressman Chris Collins

By Howard B. Owens


President Donald Trump, in the final month of his one term, issued 15 pardons today, including a pardon for former NY-27 congressional representative Chris Collins, who entered a guilty plea more than a year ago to federal crimes stemming from insider trading activity. 

Collins also admitted to lying to the FBI about using information that wasn't available to the public about Innate Immunotherapy to tip his son and other associates that led them to dump stock in the company before news of a failed trial reached other investors.

Even while under federal indictment for the crimes, Collins ran for reelection and won.

Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2016 and served on the transition team after Trump beat Hillary Clinton.  

The second member of Congress to endorse Trump was Duncan Hunter Jr., of El Cajon, Calif. Hunter was also convicted of federal crimes related to his misuse of campaign donations for his personal benefit. Today, Trump also pardoned Hunter.

Photo: File photo: Collins, with his wife standing beside him, at a press conference in August 2018 when he denied the insider trading charges that had been filed against him that day in New York City.

Whitmer: Collins resignation is chance for voters to reject corrupt political system

By Press Release

Press release from Duane Whitmer, Libertarian candidate for the NY-27 Congressional District:

Former Congressman Chris Collins has officially begun his prison sentence for his insider trading crimes. His guilt is not surprising. What is surprising is that he managed to get caught.

Duopoly politicians have abused their power and access for the pursuit of illicit profit throughout the history of this country, and it is only every once in a blue moon that we get to see one get caught like Rep. Collins.

Normally, these people are left untouched, free to continue their advocacy for endless warfare and welfare while acting against the public interest.

“The people of Western New York and, indeed, citizens all across the state, have seen this detestable movie over and over again for at least the past decade,” said Libertarian NY-27 Congressional Candidate Duane Whitmer. “Eliot Spitzer in 2008, Joe Bruno in 2009, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos in 2018...this list of New York State Republican and Democrat criminals continues ad infinitum.

"Chris Collins is simply the latest menace produced by the government criminal enterprise I just described, and NY-27 voters — apparently suffering from some form of Stockholm syndrome at the hands of the political duopoly — have accepted this criminal behavior as the norm.

"My message to the voters of NY-27 is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing — meaning voting for Democrats and Republicans — over and over while expecting a different result. So, if voters truly want to throw off the oppressive shackles of both Washington and Albany and reassert their individual liberty, then it's time to make a different choice. I am that choice. The Libertarian Party is that choice.”

Rep. Chris Jacobs and Nate McMurray legacy Republican and Democrat NY-27 contenders have one thing in common -- they are all either current politicians or attorneys. Such professions dominate what are supposed to amount to part-time endeavors as "legislators" in Albany, and are wholly responsible for creating, condoning, and expanding the culture of rampant corruption that made Collins believe his insider trading scheme was acceptable.

By contrast, Whitmer has built a career as an accountant, fighting against the onerous state and county tax systems perpetuated by all of the aforementioned politicians so that everyday New Yorkers can experience the freedom of doing what they wish with the wealth their labor has produced.

In the wake of the Collins’ imprisonment, voters have the power to determine whether we go through another cycle of electing a career politician. But if voters truly desire less government involvement in their lives and more individual liberty, they need to reject the two-party duopoly and make Duane Whitmer the congressional representative for NY-27.

McMurray decries fourth delay in sending Chris Collins to prison

By Press Release

Press release:

Nate McMurray, congressional candidate in NY-27, released the following statement after former Congressman Chris Collins asked for a fourth delay in reporting to federal prison. 

After lying to the public, claiming that the charges were meritless, Collins pled guilty to insider trading in October of 2019. This unleashed a cascade of negative impacts on the people of WNY, especially the constituents of NY-27. Collins was set to report to prison on March 17th, which was delayed until April, and now Aug. 18th due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. Collins is requesting that his report date be delayed again to Oct. 13th.  

“We have been here before. Hundreds of us wrote letters to implore the judge in Collins’ case to administer a fair sentence. We watched his tearful pleas; the hammer of justice raised, but not brought down. Chris Collins now unapologetically claims the pandemic threatens this life and should prevent him from serving his prison sentence — it’s a twisted irony that he was the first supporter of President Trump in Congress, the man who so horribly mishandled the pandemic, which led to so many avoidable deaths across our country and especially in New York State.

“Trump and his ilk are also demanding that our schools open immediately, but that elections be delayed, and now that justice be delayed too. If our kids can go back to school, Chris Collins can pay his debt to society. He denied this region representation, and he lied to secure power and privilege. Politicians like Trump yell ‘law and order,’ but when it comes to their buddies, it’s a different story: Manafort, Stone, Flynn, and yes, Collins. 

“I have always believed that justice must be balanced with mercy, but Chris Collins has seen more mercy than most. Justice delayed is justice denied — he needs to go to jail now."

McMurray opposes delayed sentencing for Collins

By Howard B. Owens

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.”

Australian television documentary dives deep into corruption of Chris Collins

By Howard B. Owens

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.

McMurray condemns potential pardon of Collins

By Howard B. Owens

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.”

Nate McMurray issues statement on sentencing of Chris Collins

By Howard B. Owens

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.”

Collins sobs in court before being sent to prison for more than two years

By Howard B. Owens

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.

Federal prosecutor asks for lengthy prison term for disgraced former congressman

By Howard B. Owens


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.

McMurray calls on federal judge to require Collins to repay salary, lose pension

By Howard B. Owens

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.


Nathan D. McMurray

Collins admits in federal court to insider trading charges and to lying about it

By Howard B. Owens
    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.

Nate McMurray issues statement on Collins resignation

By Howard B. Owens

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."

BREAKING: AP reports Congressman Collins plans to resign and plead guilty

By Billie Owens

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.

Congressman Collins pushes National Suicide Hotline Designation Act

By Billie Owens

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.

Video: Even as he solicits contributions, Collins remains non-committal his campaign plans

By Howard B. Owens
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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.

Video: Nate McMurray, running for Congress again, says Collins and Trump both need to go

By Howard B. Owens
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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."

Hochul predicts Chris Collins will soon be known as 'former congressman'

By Howard B. Owens
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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.

Collins announces bill to withhold funds from states that issue IDs to undocumented migrants

By Howard B. Owens

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.

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