Last week, Chris Collins took the long-overdue step of resigning from the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, a medical biotechnology company in which he holds significant interests. It is too little, too late. As a House member, he has repeatedly voted for legislation that would benefit the company, drafting or sponsoring no less than four bills over the last five years that would add to the company’s bottom line. As an elected official, his job is to represent the interests of his constituents, not the interests of corporate shareholders.
However, there is evidence that his resignation does not come from a change of heart but from corporate restructuring. Despite the Office of Congressional Ethics stating last October that there was “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Collins violated Federal laws on insider trading, corporate documents imply that Collins is resigning due to the company’s sale to Amplia Therapeutics. “We have to spread public awareness. Holding our elected officials accountable is the cornerstone of democracy,” Nate McMurray said.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, among others, has called for Collins to recuse himself from any legislation affecting pharmaceutical companies. This is the only correct course of action. My opponent’s many entanglements mean that he cannot have the interests of his constituents at heart while working to boost company profits. Nobody can serve two masters.
The people of Western New York deserve better. We are dealing with a healthcare crisis on multiple fronts, from the opioid epidemic to funding rural hospitals. Rep. Collins has shown, time and time again, that he is willing to vote for his bank account not for the people he serves.
“If the public better understood what Chris Collins has done, there wouldn’t even be a race,” Nate McMurray said. “The problem is when you have so much money, you think you’re untouchable. You think you can put a sign in every yard and call it a day.”