Congressional candidate Liz Joy says she is once again being harassed, this time due to contributions that were made in her name to left-leaning causes.

Joy, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko of Amsterdam for the 20th district seat on the Republican line in November, said donations were made in her name to the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations, Black Lives Matter and Act-Blue, a fundraising site for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes.

“I’m concerned that illegal and unauthorized donations have been made in my name. Let me be clear, I will defend and oppose any illegal and unauthorized misappropriation of my name or my campaign,” Joy said in a news release about the donations. “Despite any opposition or illegal efforts, I will continue to work tirelessly to represent the hard working people of this district.”

The campaign received thank-you emails from the respective groups for Joy’s supposed donations on June 27, prompting it to act. A report with the Office of the Inspector General at the Federal Election Commission was filed, and the groups were notified of the activity. Joy said her attorney will be working with the federal commission and the groups to identify the person, or person, responsible, and is considering pursuing identity theft charges.

The donations to the left-leaning causes were all under $15, but used Joy’s name, personal address and campaign committee email, Joy said.

“It’s not just someone who is opposing your campaign and signing you up for emails to your opposition,” she said Friday. “This is crossing the line in saying ‘this is who I am and this is where I live’ and that is identity theft.”

The latest incident comes just a few weeks after Joy reported a state employee at the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs for posting a series of incendiary and racially charged comments on Facebook directed at the congressional candidate from Glenville.
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Officials at the Justice Center immediately removed the employee who posted the comments, Thomas Hurd-Toften, from his position as a diversity and inclusion coordinator and launched an internal investigation.

Joy said despite these actions, her campaign is gaining traction and she expressed confidence headed into the general election.

“We are in a time where people and businesses are suffering so tremendously that they’re losing their livelihoods,” she said. “We have been locked down and shut out. Small businesses are filing bankruptcy, thousands of jobs are being lost, violent shootings and lawlessness are at an all time high. The people of (the district) need relief now.”

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