Republican presidential candidates who received donations from the head of a white supremacist group that is believed to have inspired the alleged shooter in the Charleston church massacre are donating or returning the contributions.
GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz all received funding from Council of Conservative Citizens head Earl Holt, whose group is cited on a website believed to belong to the man arrested for the shooting, Dylann Roof.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Council of Conservative Citizens as a white supremacist extremist group.
Santorum received $1,500 from Halt, and RandPAC, Paul’s political action committee, received $1,740, according the Guardian, which first reported the story.
The three Republicans are far from the only political donations Holt has made. Federal Election Commission records show Holt has donated to a number of current and former GOP members of Congress that has totaled $65,000 in recent years, according to the Guardian.
In his manifesto, Roof said he had learned about “brutal black-on-white murders” from the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website. Holt responded in a statement saying it was “not surprising” Roof found the information on the group’s site.
“The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website,” he said in a statement posted online.