Earl Holt III, 62, leader of the White supremacist group named in Dylann Roof’s manifesto, has donated to senator Ted Cruz’s campaign for three years. But with the media shedding light on Holt’s connection to Roof, who allegedly killed nine in the Charleston church massacre, the 2016 Presidential candidate — and a few others — are returning the funds, according to NBC News.
Cruz, after being approached by The Guardian on Sunday, announced that he would be giving back about $8,500 in donations back to Holt, head of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a white supremacy group.
“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.”
Fellow Republican contenders Rand Paul and Rick Santorum are following suit, according to NBC News. Paul and Santorum received $1,740 and $1,500, respectively, from Holt. However, they don’t plan on giving the money back to Holt, they’re redirecting the funds into the hands of the church victims’ families.
Here is what Santorum said in a statement according to the NY Times: “Rather than put more money back in the pockets of such an individual, my 2012 campaign committee will be donating the amount of his past donations to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to support the victims of this tragedy.”
And here is what Rand’s camp had to say in a statement from Sergio Gor, a spokesman for the campaign: “RandPAC is donating the funds to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist the victims families.”
Holt’s indirect ties to Roof surfaced when The Guardian pointed out that Roof, in his manifesto that he allegedly wrote, learned about “brutal” black-on-white murders from the Council of Conservative Citizens. But in a statement published on Sunday, Holt refused to be held responsible for radicalizing Roof.
“The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website,” Holt said, according to The Guardian.
Holt, known for voicing inflammatory remarks, including African-Americans are “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world,” has donated $65,000 to Republican campaigns in recent years.