(NBC News) Republican Congressman Chris Collins is facing federal charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI, with prosecutors saying he was committing a crime during last year’s congressional picnic on the White House lawn.
As a board member of an Australian biotech company, Collins allegedly got an email about a new drug trial that failed during the congressional picnic.
“Devastating info to the company. Congressman Collins had an obligation to keep that information secret,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman.
Prosecutors say within six minutes of receiving the email, Collins called his son as many as seven times in a matter of minutes to pass along the news, which then was spread to other family members, all of whom sold their stock.
When the FBI asked him about the situation, prosecutors say Collins lied.
Collins surrendered to the FBI Wednesday morning and plead not guilty in federal court, but prosecutors say they have emails, call logs and trading records proving he committed a crime.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called for an ethics committee investigation and said until it is settled, Collins will be sidelined from his committee assignment.