Via the Guardian:
The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.
Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” – were posted online in his name.
After being approached by the Guardian on Sunday, Cruz’s presidential campaign said it would be returning all money the senator had received from Holt.
Holt, 62, is the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), a Missouri-based activist organisation cited by the author of a manifesto-style text that was posted on a website registered in Roof’s name along with photographs of the gunman. The FBI said on Saturday it was investigating the website.
Holt has since 2012 contributed $8,500 to Cruz, the Texas senator running for the Republican presidential nomination, and his Jobs, Growth and Freedom Fund political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. On some filings Holt’s occupation was listed as “slumlord”.
He has also given $1,750 to RandPAC, the political action committee of Paul, the Kentucky senator and presidential contender, and he gave $2,000 to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.
A further $1,500 was donated by Holt to Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 Republican presidential primary runner-up, who is running for president again in the 2016 race and attended Sunday’s memorial service at Emanuel AME Church.
In response to questions from the Guardian, Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Cruz, said in an email: “Upon review, we discovered that Mr Holt did make a contribution. We will be immediately refunding the donation.”
Tyler said Cruz’s own campaign and leadership PAC would “be making a full refund”.
Matthew Beynon, a spokesman for Santorum, said in an email: “Senator Santorum does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind. Period. The views the Senator campaigns on are his own and he is focused on uniting America, not dividing her.”
A spokesman for Paul’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
I’ll give all of those GOP candidates the benefit of the doubt and say that no one in their campaigns or PAC’s solicited money from Mr. Holt. By the way, Steve M notes that these are not the only candidates to receive money from him.
But it does make you wonder what it is about those candidates and their views on America and race relations that would encourage someone like Mr. Holt to donate to them in the first place.