Chris Collins
Credit: Yahoo/Flickr

Hey, I thought Republicans were supposed to be the “law and order” party! Wha’ happened?

Indicted Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) announced Saturday that he would not run for reelection this fall as he battles federal charges for insider trading.

“After extensive discussions with my family and my friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interest of the constituents of NY-27, the Republican Party and President Trump’s agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress,” he wrote in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged Collins with providing his son, Cameron, nonpublic information about drug trial results for a biotechnology company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, where he sat on the board of directors. Cameron Collins and several others allegedly used the information to avoid more than $700,000 in losses to their own stock holdings.

Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse President Trump’s 2016 campaign, has pleaded not guilty and initially pledged to fight the charges while continuing his reelection campaign in one of the most Republican-leaning districts in New York, which includes the outskirts of Rochester, Niagara Falls and Buffalo along Lake Ontario.

Democrats pounced on the charges by arguing that they were just another indication of corruption in the Republican Party, which is emerging as a major campaign theme. The Democratic candidate in the race, Nate McMurray, the supervisor of Grand Island, had struggled to raise funds before the charges were announced.

If Collins is convicted, one wonders if he’ll pull a Michael Grimm and try to win back the seat he’s effectively giving up–that would surely turn into a pathetic spectacle even if he’s successful, unlike Grimm. Of course, one cannot rule out the possibility that a federal jury influenced by right-wing media before being impaneled could acquit Collins because they think the charges are a “deep-state” plot to stick it to a Trump ally.

As for the supposed warrior against the “deep state,” this is, as the old joke goes, ten pounds of BS in a five-pound bag:

Obviously he’s not fighting for former President Barack Obama, who he infamously didn’t view as an American. Trump’s tweets—and his claims to colorblindness—are the sorts of right-wing claims Al Gore mocked two decades ago:

The phrase “the content of our character” takes on a different meaning when it is used by those who pretend that that is all we need to establish a color-blind society. They use their color blind the way duck hunters use their duck blind. They hide behind the phrase and hope that we, like the ducks, won’t be able to see through it…So I say: we see through your color blind.

Sadly, 62 million Americans didn’t see anything but blind hatred for Obama’s color, and hatred for his would-be Democratic successor, two years ago. How many of those voters are opening their eyes now to the fundamental corruption of the party Trump and Collins represent?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.