August 14, 2018 | STAT News
The real Chris Collins scandal: lax conflict-of-interest rules in Congress
In the aftermath of Rep. Chris Collins’ (R-N.Y.) arrest last week on insider trading charges stemming from his involvement with an Australian biotech company, it is tempting to focus public attention and anger on his alleged crimes. But we should be far more concerned by what the episode reveals about Congress’ failure to regulate members’ financial conflicts of interest.
It’s certainly troubling that Collins may have broken the law. It’s even more troubling that he was allowed to invest in a biotech company and sit on its board while simultaneously crafting health care legislation as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — one of two House committees responsible for oversight of the health care industry. Collins’ dual role as legislator and biotech investor represents a clear conflict of interest but is shockingly not a violation of any House ethics rule or judicially enforceable statute.