Behind the Interest Rate Increases

By David Lerman
Heard on the Hill

They Channel Out-of-Town Outrage

By Alex Gangitano

New York Rep. Chris Collins, who faces insider trading charges stemming from his investment in an Australian biotech company, will get his day in court on Feb. 3, 2020.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Hartman repeatedly asked to move up the trial date, stating there is a “strong public interest in seeing this case resolved in 2019,” CNN reported.

Federal prosecutors say the congressman received insider information that Innate Immunotherapeutics’ only drug failed a crucial clinical trial while he was attending the White House Congressional picnic in June 2017.

“Wow. Makes no sense. How are these results even possible???” Collins replied in an email to the company’s chief executive, according to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors say Collins then tipped his son, Cameron Collins, who unloaded enough shares in the next two days to skate $570,900 in losses. Cameron Collins then told four people, including his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s father, who told two others.

After a public announcement of the trial failure, the stock plunged to a nickel. Rep. Collins suffered a loss of $17 million for his investment.

Collins was arrested in August, and pleaded not guilty.

Collins was the company’s largest shareholder and a board member, and convinced some of his congressional colleagues to invest in the company, including former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

In addition to the criminal charges, Collins’ investment has raised a thicket of ethical questions — about whether Collins sponsored legislation to boost Innate, why a clinical trial for the drug was being conducted at a cancer clinic in his district, and why Collins lent a top aide who invested in Innate stock as much as $500,000.

Collins, an ally of President Donald Trump, faces a re-election challenge from Nate McMurray in November. Despite the charges against him, Collins is likely to secure his seat in a district Trump carried by nearly 25 points in 2016.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race for the 27th District as Lean Republican.

Should Collins be re-elected then convicted of a felony, he would have to sit out floor votes, Congressional ethics experts say.

Watch: U.S. Attorney Announces Charges Against Collins

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President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to signal he will not nominate his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to be the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

He used a tweet to say it is “nice” that “everyone” wants his daughter to be the U.S. envoy to the global body. But then he added this: “She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!”

So nice, everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador. She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism! We have great people that want the job.

Trump also wrote that he has other “great people that want the job” that will be vacated at the end of the year when Nikki Haley officially resigns.

Dina Powell, a former deputy national security adviser in the Trump White House, was considered the frontrunner to replace Haley. But she reportedly has withdrawn her name from consideration.

For her part, Ivanka Trump tweeted about speculation earlier this week that he is interested in the UN job.

She called it an “honor to serve in the White House alongside so many great colleagues,” adding of Haley’s successor: “That replacement will not be me.”

Watch: Trump Discusses Potential UN Ambassador Replacements

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A California man has been charged with threatening to kill Sen. Dianne Feinstein amid the pitched partisan battle over the confirmation process of new associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Craig Steven Shaver, 47, of Lancaster, California, with a felony count of attempted criminal threats and possession of a firearm by a felon.

He was arraigned Thursday. His bail was $50,000.

Shaver allegedly emailed Feinstein's office on Sept. 30 threatening to kill her. The charging authorities declined to offer more information on the contents or circumstances of the threat.

Feinstein, 85, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee that was tasked with scrutinizing Kavanaugh through his confirmation process, is one of the most senior members of the chamber, first elected in 1992.

If convicted, Shaver faces up to three years in state prison.

In 1991, Shaver was convicted of grand theft, which by California state law permanently barred him from owning a firearm. It's unclear when investigators discovered the revolver he had in his possession that was part of his charge Thursday.

Kavanaugh was confirmed after a week-long delay on his final confirmation vote on the Senate floor after a small cadre of GOP senators led by Jeff Flake of Arizona reached a compromise with Democrats to allow for the FBI to slap together a “supplemental” background investigation into allegations he sexually assaulted multiple women when he was in high school and college.

The Democrats’ insistence that Kavanaugh’s alleged actions face a bureau probe could have negative ramifications for many of their candidates this fall, Republican leaders and operatives have predicted.

Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have depicted the hordes of protesters that descended upon the Capitol and organized in senators’ home states to protest Kavanaugh’s confirmation as an “angry [Democratic] mob,” hoping to whip up support from the party’s conservative base before Election Day on Nov. 6.

Watch: Democrats on FBI Kavanaugh Report: ‘Why Shouldn’t All of America See the Facts?’

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Shawn Zeller recaps the results of CQ's Capitol Insiders Survey, a poll of congressional staffers about the midterms and other topics, with expert analysis from two former aides to top congressional leaders, Lisa Camooso Miller, who was a spokeswoman for former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, and Brendan Daly, a onetime spokesman for Nancy Pelosi when she was Speaker from 2007-2011.

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Outside groups are descending on Illinois’ 6th District just weeks before the midterm elections — and bringing their money with them —  as six-term GOP Rep. Peter Roskam tries to stave off a bid from Democratic environmental entrepreneur Sean Casten.

The Chicago Tribune first reported these figures.

The independent spending arm of the environmentalist League of Conservation Voters political action group is dropping $291,000 to run negative advertisements against Roskam on digital platforms throughout the district.

Naral Pro-Choice America, another national liberal organization, will shell out $148,000 over the coming weeks on digital advertising opposing the incumbent. The group is also mobilizing its supporters this weekend to canvass for Casten.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Casten, is pouring another $109,000 into the district against Roskam.

But Democratic and progressive groups aren’t the only ones spending big in the swing district, which Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Tilts Democratic.

The independent expenditure arm of the Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity is injecting $55,700 into the district to support Roskam with advertising and canvassing.

And the House GOP’s campaign committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, is adding a cool $1.5 million to its budget for the district over the next several weeks, Roskam told the Tribune.

Roskam’s campaign and the NRCC shared the $687,500 bill to run an ad on TV linking Casten to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan as the state government there languishes in chronic debt and underfunded programming.

Democrats have long had their eyes on the suburban 6th District as a potential crossover district this cycle after Hillary Clinton cruised past Trump there by 7 points in 2016.

Roskam easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Amanda Howland, by 18 points last cycle.

Watch: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Health Care Ahead of the 2018 Midterms

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