Jamie Stengle and Alan Scher Zagier, ABC News, June 22, 2015
A Missouri group cited in an online manifesto purportedly written by the Charleston church shooting suspect was founded 30 years ago, and a civil rights organization calls it a “crudely white supremacist group” that is the “modern reincarnation” of efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to resist school desegregation in the South.
The Council of Conservative Citizens named Earl Holt III, of Longview, Texas, as its president earlier this year following the death of predecessor Gordon Baum, who was a personal injury lawyer in suburban St. Louis, where the group is based. Holt has contributed more than $60,000 to Republicans since 2010, including several White House hopefuls, Federal Election Commission records show.
Dylann Roof, the suspect in last week’s slayings of a pastor and eight congregants, said in the purported manifesto that he learned about “brutal black on white murders” from the Council of Conservative Citizens’ website.
Jared Taylor, the group’s spokesman, said Monday that “no one in the organization that I know of . . . has ever heard of (Roof). He certainly was never a member, and I don’t suspect that he ever attended a meeting.” Taylor placed the group’s membership in the “thousands” but declined to be more specific.
“Our site educated him. Our site told him the truth about interracial crime. What he then decided to do with that truth is absolutely not our responsibility,” said Taylor, who added he “categorically condemns” the killings.
Taylor said that Holt did not want to speak to the press and also did not want to provide biographical details.