The leader of a white supremacist group that appears to have influenced the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans including presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, according to the federal records and news reports.
Earl Holt, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The organisation was reportedly cited by accused 21-year-old shooter Dylann Roof, charged with the murder of nine people at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, in a manifesto-style text that was posted on a website registered in Roof’s name.
The manifesto said its author had first learned of “brutal black-on-white murders” from the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website.
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s campaign said he would be returning the $8,500 in donations he had received from Holt’s organisation.
Hold said in a statement published on Sunday that it was not “surprising” that Roof read by the group’s website as it reported race relations “accurately and honestly.”
He added “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”