The leader of a white supremacist group mentioned by Dylann Roof in his alleged manifesto has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns in recent years.
Earl Holt, president of the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens, has given to prominent 2016 candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum over the years, among others, while provocative statements in his name were posted online over the years, including on the conservative news site The Blaze, under the user name Earl P Holt III.
Jared Taylor, a former director of the CofCC, told The Guardian, which first reported the donations, that “if there’s a statement that is ‘Earl P Holt III,’ he probably made it.’”
“If you think you can educate them, or embarrass them, or reason with them, or that your Christian compassion will be reciprocated, then you are the kind of person who will be completely baffled when they kill you, rape your entire family, and burn your house to the ground,” Earl P. Holt III wrote in a comment last year.
According to one account of a witness’ report, Roof said before opening fire, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” Roof stands charged with the murders of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last Wednesday night.
Another comment from Holt in 2011 referred to black people as “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world.”
The author of the manifesto on LastRhodesian.com, widely reported to be Roof, wrote that the CofCC website informed him about “brutal black on white murders” after the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin 2012.
In a statement posted on the group’s website on Sunday, Holt said it was “not surprising” that Roof credits the site for his “knowledge of black-on-white violent crime.”
“The CofCC website exists because media either ‘spike’ such stories, or intentionally obscure the race of black offenders. Indeed, at its national convention some years ago, the Society of Professional Journalists adopted this tactic as a formal policy,” Holt wrote, adding that the CofCC “does not advocate illegal activities of any kind, and never has.”
“I would gladly compare the honesty and law-abiding nature of our membership against that of any other group,” Holt added.
Since 2012, Holt has given $8,500 to Cruz and his political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Cruz’s campaign responded to both The Guardian and The New York Times, saying that it will be refunding any contributions.
“Upon review, we discovered that Mr. Holt did make a contribution. We will be immediately refunding the donation,” Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler told The Guardian, which first reported on the donations. A spokesman for Santorum told the paper that the former senator “does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind. Period.” Paul’s campaign did not respond to the paper’s request for comment.
Holt also contributed $1,750 to Paul’s PAC, as well as $2,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. He has also given to several GOP congressional campaigns for current or former lawmakers, including Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Rob Portman of North Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona; former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, and former presidential candidate and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.