White supremacist donated to Republican 2016 candidates

White House

White House

Three US Republican presidential candidates received donations from the head of a white supremacist group mentioned by the alleged perpetrator of last week’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston.

White House hopeful Senator Ted Cruz said Sunday, through an aide speaking to The Guardian, that the candidate will return the $8,500 in donations he has received since 2012 from Earl Holt III, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

The group is listed as racist and extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks US hate groups.

The donations are on public file with the Federal Election Commission and were reported by the Guardian late Sunday.

Holt has given dozens of times to numerous candidates in recent years, including senators and members of the US House of Representatives, totalling at least $56,000, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Aside from Cruz, two other presidential candidates have received donations from Holt: Senator Rand Paul, who received $1,750, and former senator Rick Santorum ($1,500).

Paul’s chief strategist, Doug Stafford, said Monday that the RandPAC political action committee will donate the contributions to a fund to assist families of the nine people who were shot dead Wednesday at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina.

“Senator Santorum does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind. Period,” Santorum’s spokesman Matthew Beynon said in an email to the Guardian, without specifying whether the donations would be returned.

The alleged Charleston killer, Dylann Roof, is believed to have created a website where he wrote about black-on-white violence, citing figures that he found on the website of Holt’s organization.

Holt, in a statement on his site, said his group was “hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”

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