GOP Candidates Got Cash From White Nationalist Cited by Charleston Suspect
The leader of a white nationalist group cited in a chilling manifesto apparently written by the suspect in last week’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina donated thousands of dollars to Republican presidential candidates, campaign finance records show.
The Guardian late Sunday first reported that Earl Holt III, the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, donated to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
The Council of Conservative Citizens is a white nationalist group based in St. Louis, Missouri that once had close ties to congressional Republicans. Prominent Southern GOPers including former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) spoke to the group several times in the 1990s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Conservative politicians continued to associate with the group even after the Republican National Committee asked party members to sever ties with it in 1998, according to the SPLC.
Dylann Roof, the white, 21-year-old male charged with nine counts of murder after he opened fire at the downtown Charleston church, Emanuel AME, credited the Council of Conservative Citizens in the alleged manifesto with opening his eyes to “black on White” crime following the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin.
“There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief,” the manifesto read. “At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?”
Holt said Sunday in a statement posted to the group’s website that his organization is “hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”