Collins was employed in the New Deal National Recovery Administration in the 1930s and later the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. He was a member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) and the Washington, D.C. based Ware group, along with Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, Harry Dexter White and others.
Collins was the Ware group's treasurer and collected Communist Party dues from its members. Collins also acted as a talent spotter and recruiter for Soviet intelligence. "Worthington Wiggins" is the pseudonym of a State Department employee Collins recruited. He later served as Director of the American-Russian Institute in New York. J. Peters, head of the CPUSA's secret apparatus recognized Collins, Hiss and Pressman had the potential for advancement within the United States government. So in 1936 a decision was made to separate Collins from the larger Ware group, and Whittaker Chambers became Collins's contact with Peters.
- Alexander Vassiliev, Black Notebook, Orig. 39; Trans. 77; cf. Ronald Bachman and Harold Leich (tr.), with John Earl Haynes, Alexander Vassiliev's Notes on Anatoly Gorsky's December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks, History of American Communism (H-HOAC) Discussion Network, March 14, 2005, H-Net Discussion Networks, Humanities and Social Sciences Online (Michigan State University); David Lowenthal with Svetlana A. Chervonnaya, Gorsky Report: Dec 23, 1949, History News Network (George Mason University), May 2, 2005
- John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), ISBN 0300123906, pp. 202, 244
- FBI Silvermaster file, Vol. 67, pgs. 13 - 14 pdf, August 1946. Background on Collins from Whittaker Chambers.
- Whittaker Chambers Testimony before HUAC 3 August 1948
- Alexander Vassiliev's original Russian notes titled "A.Gorsky's Report to Savchenko S.R., 23 December 1949", "Failures List".