Dylann Roof, the prime suspect in a Charleston, South Carolina, massacre that left nine black churchgoers dead, credited the Council of Conservative Citizens for ‘awakening’ him to the 'evils' of people of color and Jewish people in his reported manifesto.
Earl Holt III, the 62-year-old leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has donated $65,000 to Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, among others, The Guardian reported.
In the past, the group has been openly anti-integration, race mixing and immigration, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Roof’s alleged manifesto violently mirrors these views — he touted his pro-segregation and anti-black opinions in the nearly 2,500 word rant on the topics of race, Judaism, patriotism and white nationalism.
“The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that (George) Zimmerman was in the right,” Roof explained in the manifesto, The Last Rhodesian.
Zimmerman shot and killed Martin, a black teenager, in a scuffle. He was acquitted in 2013.
“But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words ‘black on White crime’ into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. 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?”
Since 2012, Holt has contributed $8,500 to Cruz and his political action committee. He also donated $1,750 to RandPAC, Paul's PAC and $2,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The Guardian published a list of all current members of Congress, state officials or candidates who received campaign contributions from Holt. The numbers include donations to candidate’s PAC.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — $8,500 — donating to Charleston church fund
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — $3,500 — donating to charity
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — $3,000 — donating to Salvation Army in Austin
Rep. Steve King of Iowa — $2,500
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska — $2,000
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky — $1,750 — donating to Charleston church fund
Former Sen. Rick Santorum — $1,500 — donating to Charleston church fund
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas — $1,500
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas — $1,250
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — $1,250
Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa — $1,000
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona — $1,000
Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina — $1,000
Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — $1,000
Rep. Mia Love of Utah – $1,000 — returning contributions
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — $1,000
Texas State Rep. David Simpson — $750
Rep. Thomas Emmer of Minnesota — $500
Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada — $500
Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho — $500
Rep. Kenneth Buck of Colorado — $500
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio — $250 — donating to Charleston church fund
Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina — $250
Texas State Rep. Matthew Schaefer — $250
Upon being confronted by the source of its funding, Cruz’s presidential campaign said it would return the money it received from Holt. A spokesman said on June 22 that Cruz would not be returning the money and would instead make an $11,000 donation to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, which benefits the victims' families.
“Upon learning Mr. Holt’s background, Senator Cruz made an immediate decision to return his contributions,” said a campaign spokesman. “However after reflection, he decided that the best use of that money would not be to return it but instead use it to help support the families of victims from the Charleston shooting.”
Paul’s presidential campaign decided to give up Holt’s donation. “RandPAC is donating the funds to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist the victims’ families,” Doug Stafford, his chief strategist, told The Guardian.
Santorum, unsurprisingly, followed suit. “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,” Matthew Beynon, a spokesman for Santorum, said in an email. He announced in a statement on June 22 he would donate the money to a fund for the victims’ families.
Although Holt wouldn’t comment on the matter to reporters, he didn’t apologize for Council of Conservative Citizens’ apparent role in shaping Roof’s views. “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website,” Holt said in a statement, published by the conservative and white supremacist website American Renaissance.
Image via The Guardian