White Supremacist Who Influenced Charleston Suspect Donated to 2016 G.O.P. Campaigns

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from The New York Times,

The leader of a white supremacist group that apparently influenced Dylann Roof, the suspect in the killing of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.

Mr. Cruz, a Texas senator, said Sunday night that he would be returning about $8,500 in donations that he had received from the Texas donor, Earl Holt III, who lists himself as president of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

“We just learned this evening that Mr. Holt had contributed to the campaign,” a spokesman for the Cruz campaign said in an email to The New York Times. “We will be immediately refunding all those donations.”

Mr. Paul’s campaign said Monday that it planned to send $2,250 received from Mr. Holt to a victims’ fund set up in the wake of the shooting.

Mr. Holt, in a statement posted online in his name, said he was not surprised to learn that Mr. Roof had found out about “black-on-white violent crime” from his group because, he said, it was one of the few that had the courage to disclose “the seemingly endless incidents involving black-on-white murder.” But he said his group does not advocate violence and should not be held responsible for the shootings.

The group is regarded by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading authority on hate crimes, as a white supremacist extremist organization that opposes “race mixing” as a religious affront and that vilifies blacks as an inferior race.

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