Four Republican Hopefuls Return Money After ‘Dylann Roof Manifesto’ Revelation

Jon Swaine and Jessica Glenza, Guardian, June 22, 2015

Four presidential hopefuls were among 16 Republicans who on Monday gave up more than $30,000 in campaign contributions from the leader of a white nationalist group said to have influenced the Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof.

Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum led a GOP group spanning Congress and statehouses who said they would donate to charity or return money from Earl Holt, following the publication of a Guardian article on Sunday.

Other Republicans who have taken money from Holt declined to comment about the contributions.

Holt, the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), has contributed more than $74,000 to Republican candidates and committees in recent years, according to public filings, while making dozens of racist statements online.

His organisation, which is labelled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, was cited by the author of an extremist manifesto posted on a website registered in Roof’s name and hosting photographs of the 21-year-old.

Walker, the Wisconsin governor, will pass the $3,000 Holt gave his state campaigns to a charity, AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman, said in an email. Walker is expected to officially announce a campaign for president in the coming weeks.

His decision followed 2016 candidates Paul, a senator for Kentucky, Cruz, a senator for Texas, and Santorum, a former senator for Pennsylvania, passing a total of $14,250 they received from Holt to a memorial fund for Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were shot dead last week.

“I abhor the sentiments Mr Holt has expressed. These statements and sentiments are unacceptable. Period. End of sentence,” Santorum said in a statement.

The manifesto author, widely reported but not verified as Roof, recounted learning about “brutal black on white murders” from the CfCC website. “At this moment I realised that something was very wrong,” the manifesto said.

Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder. He is accused of joining a Bible study group at the church last Wednesday evening and opening fire, declaring that the attack was racially motivated before fleeing in his car.

Jared Taylor, a spokesman for the CoCC, said in a statement on Monday that its leaders “utterly condemn” Roof’s alleged killings, but said the shootings “do not detract in the slightest from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed”.

Taylor said: “Ignoring legitimate grievances is dangerous.”

Another $6,500 in Holt campaign contributions are to be donated to the church fund from senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, along with representatives Ryan Zinke of Montana, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Spokespeople for the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who received a combined $5,000 in campaign contributions from Holt, according to filings, said they would be giving the money to charity.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Representative Mia Love of Utah–the first black female Republican in Congress–said they would be returning a total of $2,500 in contributions to Holt. “I do not agree with his hateful beliefs and language and believe they are hurtful to our country,” Cotton said in a statement.

In a statement published on Sunday, Holt said it was “not surprising” that Roof was apparently informed by the group’s website as it reported race relations “accurately and honestly”.

However, he added: “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”

Current members of congress, state officials, or candidates who received campaign contributions from Earl Holt, president of Council of Conservative Citizens, according to FEC and state filings:

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas* – $8,500 – donating $11,000 to Charleston church fund

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin – $3,500 – donating to charity

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas – $3,000 – donating to Salvation Army in Austin

Representative Steve King of Iowa – $2,500

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska – $2,000 – donating to community centre

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky* – $1,750 – donating to Charleston church fund

Former Senator Rick Santorum – $1,500 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas – $1,500 – returning contributions

Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas* – $1,250 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin – $1,250 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa – $1,000 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona – $1,000 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina – $1,000 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana – $1,000

Representative Mia Love of Utah – $1,000 – returning contributions

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin* – $1,000

State representative David Simpson of Texas – $750

State senator Konni Burton of Texas – $750

Representative Thomas Emmer of Minnesota – $500

Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana – $500 – donating to Charleston church fund

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada – $500

Senator Jim Risch of Idaho – $500

Representative Kenneth Buck of Colorado – $500

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio – $250 – donating to Charleston church fund

Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina – $250

State representative Matthew Schaefer of Texas – $250

Texas supreme court judge Jeff Brown – $250

Former candidates and members of congress who received campaign contributions from Holt

Todd Akin, US senate candidate in Missouri – $3,500

Michele Bachmann, US representative for Minnesota and US presidential primary candidate – $3,200

Richard Mourdock, US senate candidate in Indiana – $2,500

Mitt Romney, US presidential candidate – $2,000

Chris McDaniel, US senate primary candidate in Mississippi – $2,000

Charles Djou, US house candidate in Hawaii – $2,000

Josh Mandel, US senate candidate in Ohio – $1,500

Linda McMahon, US senate candidate in Connecticut – $1,500

Allen West*, US representative for Florida – $1,250

Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia governor candidate – $1,000

George Allen, US senate candidate in Virginia – $1,000

Rick Berg, US representative and US senate candidate for North Dakota – $1,000

Dennis Rehberg, US representative and US senate candidate for Montana – $1,000

Mark Neumann, US senate candidate in Wisconsin – $1,000

Sharron Angle, US senate candidate in Nevada – $1,000

Paul Broun, US representative and US senate primary candidate for Georgia – $1,000

Rob Maness, US senate primary candidate in Louisiana – $1,000

Quico Canseco, US representative and US house primary candidate for Texas – $750

Peter Hoekstra, US representative and US senate candidate for Michigan – $500

Tom Smith, US senate candidate in Pennsylvania – $500

Dan Liljenquist, state senator and US senate primary candidate in Utah – $500

JD Hayworth, US representative and US senate primary candidate for Arizona – $500

Dino Rossi, state senator and US senate candidate in Washington – $500

Philip Eby, state house primary candidate in Texas – $500

Jeff Bell, US senate candidate in New Jersey – $500

Donald Webb, US house candidate in North Carolina – $500

Joe Miller, US senate primary candidate in Alaska – $500

Jim Oberweis, state senator and US senate candidate in Illinois – $500

Steve Lonegan, US senate candidate in New Jersey – $500

John Raese, US senate candidate in West Virginia – $500

Conservative campaign committees that received contributions from Holt

Senate Conservatives Fund PAC – $1,000

Actright PAC – $1,000 PAC – $800

Madison Project PAC – $250

*Total includes contributions to candidate’s leadership Pac

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