Rep. Chris Collins has bragged about how much money his stock tip made for his Republican colleagues, The Hill reported.
Earlier in 2017, lawmakers said Collins urged his colleagues to invest in Innate Immunotherapeutics, maker of a drug to fight against advanced multiple sclerosis. Collins is the company's biggest stockholder, according to The Hill.
"He said that he's made members money… on his stock tip," referring to members of Congress, one lawmaker told The Hill.
"If you get in early, you'll make a big profit," Collins said to another group of House Republicans, another lawmaker told The Hill.
A third lawmaker said Collins offered him the tip, but he did not take the advice, The Hill reported.
"Anytime you talk about business interests, you always have to be sensitive to how that is portrayed by others," another lawmaker said.
In an interview in the Speaker's lobby, Collins denied that he had recruited Congress colleagues to buy the stock or that he had boasted about his tip, according to The Hill.
"I never once talked about that … I've never encouraged anyone to buy the stock. Ever," Collins said.
He said that Innate Immunotherapeutics' drug has just finished a clinical trial, and could save lives, according to The Hill.
"In all the things I've done in my business career, I'm most proud of this," Collins said in the interview, The Hill reported.
Five lawmakers, including Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Tex., and Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., purchased shares of Innate, but most of them said they heard about the tip through media, not from Collins, according to The Hill.
The Office of Congressional Ethics was speaking to Buffalo-area investors who bought stock in the company after talking with Collins, according to a Buffalo News report in May.
The Daily Beast in May reported Collins is among 40 Republican congressmen that voted for the American Health Care Act proposal while also owning shares in healthcare companies.
Through a spokesman, Collins denied wrongdoing.
"Despite the continued partisan attacks insinuating otherwise, Congressman Collins has followed all ethical guidelines related to his personal finances during his time in the House and will continue to do so," spokesman Michael Kracker said in the Buffalo News report.
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