Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was indicted this week on several counts of fraud, but he isn’t the only Republican involved in the scandal.
According to The Daily Beast, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) was the only member willing to support two out of four bills Collins filed that would likely have benefited pharmaceutical company Innate Immunotherapeutics. Collins is a major Innate shareholder and convinced many others to buy stock in the company anticipating it would have a drug to treat multiple sclerosis. When the drug trials didn’t pan out, Collins told his family to dump the stock, knowing it was about to tank.
Long bought between $15,000 and $50,000 in Innate holdings in his Fidelity retirement account. When Collins filed a bill that would help Innate, and other companies, expedite FDA approvals for treatments, Long was a co-sponsor. The Missouri Congressman is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and has oversight over the FDA.
Long’s office wouldn’t respond to questions about the bills but said that he didn’t hear about Innate through a colleague, instead, he heard about it on the nightly news in January 2017. That indicates that the purchase of the stock was suggested and authorized by Long, not Fidelity.
“I talked about it all the time,” Collins said about his lobbying for Innate. “‘Who in Congress have you talked with about Innate?” Collins said, posing the question to himself. “The bigger question would be ‘Who haven’t I talked to?’”
Long is seeking his fifth term in Congress and is considered one of the safest GOP seats. He’ll face former Willard mayor Jamie Schoolcraft in November.