Ethics have been the number one issue surrounding the leading Democratic candidates in the Illinois Secretary of State race, and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia and former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias traded beards at a heated forum Thursday in Chicago.
The forum, organized by the Union League Club, invited three of the Democratic candidates to replace Jesse White this fall, but the spotlight was firmly on Valencia and Giannoulias as they continued their long-running war of words over security issues. ethics that both candidates have. worked to resolve during the campaign.
Valencia has come under fire for emails she sent from her official city hall account to her husband, who is a lobbyist pursuing government contracts in numerous states, including Illinois.
“There are growing pains in the office, and I’ve experienced that very publicly,” she said.
Valencia was forced to change its declarations of financial interests after questions raised by NBC 5 political reporter Mary Ann Ahern.
In fiery race for Secretary of State, Governor JB Pritzker backs his endorsement of Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia even as she faces scrutiny amid allegations that she violated state ethics rules. Reporting by Mary Ann Ahern of NBC 5.
Under Illinois law, Valencia must list all companies that do business with the city from which his wife received compensation over $5,000, and she did not initially list Monterrey Security, a company with heavy city contracts.
Valencia’s husband also represented a company that received a contract to boost internet speeds in New Orleans, but the company was forced to pull out due to allegations of contract rigging. The company, Ignite Cities, also sought a contract with the Medical District of Illinois.
In both cases, Valencia wrote emails from her municipal account on behalf of her husband’s clients, according to WCIA reports.
Giannoulias has repeatedly criticized Valencia for not being more transparent about her husband’s lobbying work.
“She is currently married to someone who is lobbying the city of Chicago that she serves, and yet she says if she gets elected, she says she won’t (guarantee for him) then,” he said. -he declares.
Giannoulias, who served as Illinois treasurer from 2007 to 2011 and ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2010, faces his own ethical questions, with Valencia criticizing his handling of the Bright Start scholarship program during his tenure.
“My opponent wants to take the focus off his 10 years of MIA and then pop up to run,” she said. “We’re not pushing on his ethics of losing (money) from Bright Start.”
Giannoulias was overseeing the program when one of the funds involved in the Bright Start program, known as Core Plus, began to suffer severe financial losses. The fund ultimately lost more than $150 million due to risky investments made by the fund manager, although Giannoulias and former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan negotiated a $77 million settlement with Oppenheimer to repay lost funds.
The former treasurer’s handling of Bright Start was one of the main criticisms leveled at him in 2010 when he ran for the Senate, ultimately losing his race to former senator Mark Kirk.
Valence also criticized Giannoulias for the failure of Broadway Bank, run by his family and founded by his father. The bank went bankrupt following the Great Recession of 2010.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the community bank my father started in 1979, helping tens of thousands achieve the American dream. Like a record number of banks during the Great Recession, we did not survive,” Giannoulias said in response to criticism.
As the couple continue to shoot each other, Ald. David Moore, also a candidate for the post, says their ethical concerns could hurt the party in November if they want to keep the job of secretary of state.
“It’s going to be a disaster in the November elections, and for us to keep this seat, we need someone who has a heart of service and who doesn’t have an ethical challenge,” he said. declared.