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Chicago Treasurer running for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis' seat amid ethics concerns

Chicago Treasurer running for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis's seat amid ethics concerns
Chicago Treasurer running for U.S. Rep. Danny Davis's seat amid ethics concerns 02:20

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago's treasurer, who's been the subject of recent ethics complaints, said she's now running for Congress.

Melissa Conyears-Ervin is taking on a popular opponent: Congressman Danny Davis, who's held office since 1996.

One government watchdog group tells CBS 2's Noel Brennan they have concerns about the way the newest candidate in the race runs her current office.

"It's my motivation to fight every single day because if I'm not changing lives, then I have no business being on the ballot."

A bright and cheery campaign video just released ignores a cloud of controversy. Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin said she intends to run for Congress.

"I can say that the timing comes as a surprise."

David Greising with the Better Government Association is surprised because voters probably remember these stories:

"Two former treasurer office employees accuse Conyears-Ervin of consistently misusing city money, city employees, and city resources to benefit her private interests."


"Hiring an ex-Chicago police officer as assistant city treasurer, but actually using him as security and hiring an administrative assistant and then using her to run errands and grocery shop."

Conyers-Ervin is also accused of pressuring a bank that does business with the city to give a mortgage to a building that houses the office of 28th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin, her husband.

"There's a concern about the allegations about how she runs her office," Greising said.

The city settled with two whistleblowers, but just a few weeks ago, the Inspector General's office seized computers from the treasurer's office.

"That's a highly unusual, very public move by the inspector general," Greising said.

And yet – Conyears-Ervin joins the race against a longtime incumbent in the 7th District.

"Danny Davis, who has an unblemished public record when it comes to matters such as this, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see this become an issue in the campaign," Greising said.

CBS 2 reached out to Melissa Conyears-Ervin for an interview, but her staff said she was unavailable on Friday.

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