The Better Government Association is pleased to announce the addition of one-time Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks to its Board of Directors, where she will serve on the investigations, policy and civic engagement committee. Wine-Banks joins the board with decades of legal experience in the public and private sector as well as a diverse background in corporate and nonprofit service. Born and raised in Chicago, she frequently speaks at universities, law schools and professional and business groups, and is an MSNBC contributor.
Wine-Banks has worked to hold government officials accountable from the beginning of her career, when she served as one of three Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutors in the Watergate trial against Pres. Richard Nixon. As the only woman on the Trial Team, she cross-examined Pres. Nixon’s secretary about the 18 ½ minute gap in White House recordings.
“I’ve been interested in good government since my Watergate days when I saw bad government,” Wine-Banks said. “Anything to help Illinois pursue good government, I’m happy to do.”
Since Watergate, Wine-Banks has held a number of distinguished government positions. In 1977 she was named General Counsel of the U.S. Army by Pres. Jimmy Carter, becoming the first woman to hold the position. After returning to Chicago, she was appointed Solicitor General, and then Deputy Attorney General of Illinois. In 1987 she was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Bar Association, the first woman in her role. She went on to a corporate career at Motorola and Maytag before transitioning to nonprofit work as CEO of Winning Workplaces. Wine-Banks also served as the Chicago Public Schools Chief Officer of career and technical education and in 2014 was appointed to the Judicial Proceedings Panel’s Subcommittee on Sexual Assault where she worked to improve the military’s handling of sexual assault cases.
“Jill’s been an active proponent of honest, ethical, transparent government since her days as a Watergate prosecutor in the 1970s, she’s been a go-to commentator in recent months on news shows that are exploring ethical questions in Washington D.C.,” Andy Shaw, president and CEO of the BGA, said. “We’re thrilled to have her on the BGA board, where she can share her thoughts and experiences with our investigative, policy and civic engagement teams.”
“It’s kind of a dream come true for me because I graduated with a journalism degree,” Wine-Banks said. “It’s a perfect end to the story.”