House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday booted Rep. Chris Collins, R-NY, from the House Energy and Commerce Committee pending the outcome of a probe of allegations of insider trading on a drug-company stock.
Ryan, R-Wisc., announced Collins' removal shortly before federal prosecutors in New York City were set to discuss an indictment against Collins, who was arrested earlier Wednesday on charges of insider trading and of lying to federal investigators in a bid to cover up his action.
"While his guilt or innocence is a question for the courts to settle, the allegations against Rep. Collins demand a prompt and thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee," Ryan said in a prepared statement.
"Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust. Until this matter is settled, Rep. Collins will no longer be serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee."
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a press conference that Collins, who is responsible for writing the nation's laws, "acted as if the law didn't apply to him."
Collins "placed his family and friends above the public good," Berman said.
Collins, 68, pleaded not guilty Wednesday during an appearance at federal court in Manhattan, where a judge ordered him released on $500,000 bond, and told him to come back for a hearing in the case on Oct. 11.
An indictment unsealed Wednesday accuses Collins of disclosing in June 2017 non-public information about the stock of Australian biotech company Innate Immunotherapeutics, on which Collins served as a board member, to his son, Cameron Collins.