The 21-year-old accused of gunning down nine people inside a Charleston church has credited a man who donated thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns — including those of two Texans — for influencing his views on black people, The Guardian reported last night.
East-Texas man Earl Holt, 62, is president of the Missouri-based Council of Conservative Citizens. According to The New York Times, the Southern Poverty Law Center — a leading authority on hate crimes — confirmed that CofCC is a white supremacist group that opposes "race mixing" and condemns black people as an inferior race.
The self-proclaimed "Texas Slumlord" has donated $65,000 to Republican campaign funds while making offensive remarks about black people, The Guardian reported.
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In a campaign finance report from The Texas Tribune, Holt is shown providing $1,000 to the Texans for Greg Abbott fund. Holt has also financially backed three GOP presidential candidates, including Rick Santorum, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
After speaking with The Guardian and The New York Times, Cruz said he would return the $8,500 his campaign has received through Holt.
"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 June 21. "We will be immediately refunding all those donations."
Greg Abbott will also return his $1,000 donation by donating it to the Salvation Army in Austin, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Presidential candidates Rand Paul and Rick Santorum have not yet responded to Holt's involvement within their campaigns.