Like Collins, most lawmakers in a similar situation initially vowed to fight, but wound up quickly caving in to bad press and resigning. A handful managed to win re-election only to have to give up the seat later after being convicted.
But there is also a select group who dug in, fought the charges, and despite months or years of terrible optics, emerged on the other side in good shape, legally and electorally.
The insistence on sticking around comes down to the bedrock of the American legal system.
"You're innocent until proven guilty," James Gardner, a professor of election and constitutional law at the University at Buffalo School of Law, told NBC News. "Doesn't matter if you're under an enormous cloud of suspicion or whether you've deceived shareholders and the American public to personally profit."
There is no federal or state law that bars someone from appearing on a ballot because they have been indicted on criminal charges. Candidates in most states can even seek election if they are convicted, creating little incentive to quit, especially if the seat is, like Collins', considered a sure bet for re-election.
"You expect people to do the right thing, to resign. In many cases it could, and should, be that simple," said Gardner. "Politics isn’t simple."
History contains plenty of examples where things didn't go well.
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The former Ohio Democratic congressman was indicted in 2001 on bribery, conspiracy and tax evasion charges. Traficant vowed to not resign and to fight the charges, even representing himself during his trial.
After he was convicted on 10 felony counts in April 2002, Traficant still would not resign. He filed the next month to run for re-election as an independent in his Youngstown-area district.
He lost the Democratic primary for his seat in April 2016 but still didn't quit, and held on all the way through his trial in June 2016. Only after being found guilty on all charges, did he finally resign from Congress. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Louisiana Democratic Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on federal bribery charges in 2007, ran for re-election, got through the primary and then lost the general election, before being found guilty on several charges in 2009. Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted on, and found guilty of, felony corruption charges in 2008, but he refused to resign and lost his re-election bid, although his conviction was later voided. Illinois Democratic Rep. Dan Rostenkowski was indicted in 1994 on corruption charges, ran for re-election, and lost.