We hit the ground running! We’ve begun the crucial work of modernizing the office to improve the customer experience and restoring trust in government by strengthening ethics within the office. Read the official report from our first 100 Days in Office and our accomplishments delivering on promises made on the campaign trail.
Standing for Free Speech
Together with our state lawmakers, our office drafted legislation to support public schools and libraries facing book ban demands. Illinois has now becoming the first state in the country to prohibit book banning. Governor Pritzker has officially signed HB 2789 into law which prevents public and school libraries from receiving state grants if they fail to adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, which states that reading materials shouldn’t be removed or restricted due to “partisan or personal disapproval.”
As the state’s Chief Librarian, I championed this legislation and worked with lawmakers to ensure our experienced librarians continue providing materials that engage history, discuss various viewpoints and encourage critical thinking.
Setting New Ethics Standards
On my first day in office, I signed an executive order setting new standards for ethical behavior and accountable governance in the Secretary of State’s office. I continue to support proposals that would:
Prohibit Elected Officials from Serving as Lobbyists
Giannoulias supports initiatives that would prohibit state lawmakers from lobbying local governments on behalf of those who also lobby the State, but believes new laws should ban all elected officials from also working as lobbyists at all levels of government.
Close the Revolving Door
Giannoulias supports efforts to enact a “revolving door” policy – of at least two years – to prevent state lawmakers from working as lobbyists immediately after they leave the Legislature.
Ban Shadow Lobbying
Require all behind-the-scenes or “unregistered” lobbyists or consultants who do not lobby directly to register with the Secretary of State’s office and undergo ethics training and file expenditure reports – the same as regular lobbyists – and require the firms or entities that hire them to disclose their identities, compensation and clients.
Create a Lobbyist Database
Establish a statewide, searchable database for the public to access lobbyist information and activity at all levels of state and local government with regularly updated registration and expenditure reports from lobbyists and clients.
Require state lawmakers who have a personal or private interest in legislation to disclose potential conflicts and prohibit outside employment that creates potential conflicts with their government work.
Provide More Disclosure
Require elected officials to reveal potential conflicts by mandating that their Statements of Economic Interest report outside sources of income, business relationships, ranges of the amount they get paid and from whom. In addition, require strict monitoring and penalties for failing to disclose any interests.
Expand Inspector General Authority
Expand the powers of the inspectors general in state government and in the Legislature to give them more independence and additional resources to pro-actively investigate issues and eliminate corruption without having to get permission from the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is composed of state lawmakers.
Protecting Illinois Consumers
As the state’s securities regulator, we’re fighting to protect you from fraud. We helped Illinois receive $424,500 from a multi-state settlement with Nexo Capital, Inc., which was selling unregistered securities and not properly disclosing consumer information regarding crypto assets. We also reached a settlement with Carvana, which included the company admitting wrongdoing and agreeing to consumer safeguards. Our office has now filed suit against cryptocurrency exchange company Coinbase, Inc., for illegally selling unregistered investments and misleading thousands of customers. Illinoisans deserve transparency, and we’re not afraid to hold anyone accountable for putting Illinoisans at risk.
Protecting Access to Women’s Reproductive Healthcare
The Secretary of State’s office has stepped into the intense battle to protect a woman’s right to choose. In the wake of the shocking reversal of Roe v. Wade, radicals in neighboring states have decided to criminalize a woman’s right to choose even where it remains legal.
I decided that the Secretary of State’s office was not going to be a mere bystander in this battle, and we unveiled a proposal to protect women from traveling to Illinois for an abortion by refusing to share their automatic license plate reader information with authorities who would prosecute them.
I’m proud to have worked with Representative Ann Williams and the Illinois State Legislature on this initiative, which is heading to the Governor’s desk to become law. This is a first-in-the-nation step in ensuring Illinois remains a sanctuary for women seeking reproductive care.