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Public Citizen Statement on Trump’s Unethical Pardons

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Public Citizen asked the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017 to look closely at the stock trading activity of then-U.S. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and determine if he used public office for personal financial benefit. OCE referred the matter to the U.S. House Ethics Committee recommending further action. OCE also recommended further action against then-U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) for using campaign funds for personal goods and services, including financing multiple affairs. Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, released the following statement:

“For corrupt politicians who want to enrich themselves in the swamp of Washington D.C., it is good to have Donald Trump as a friend.

“Two former lawmakers who were found guilty of gross violations of ethics laws and were serving time – former Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter – are now free to return to their lavish lifestyles, thanks to full pardons from Trump. Both lawmakers were early supporters of Trump and both have close connections to the president.

“Despite extensive documentation by OCE of their unethical behavior and having been found guilty of brazenly illegal activities by the courts, these friends of Trump are off on their respective ways back to their Florida and California villas for Christmas.

“For Collins and Hunter, their brief stints in prison were just minor hiccups on their road of self-dealing. For Trump, ‘drain the swamp’ has always just been empty campaign rhetoric.”