Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum Got Campaign Donations from Founder of White Supremacist Group that May Have Inspired Dylann Roof

Earl Holt III, the leader of an organization admired by Charleston terrorism suspect Dylann Roof has given $65,000 to Republican candidates in recent years. Above, the far right leader at a 2013 conference.
Earl Holt III, the leader of an organization admired by Charleston terrorism suspect Dylann Roof has given $65,000 to Republican candidates in recent years. Above, the far right leader at a 2013 conference.

Why didn’t Ted Cruz (or Rand Paul or Rick Santorum) know that campaign donor Earl Holt III is the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization?

That is one of many questions, following the revelation that all three Republican candidates for president – and many other GOP politicians, dating back at least to 2004 – accepted donations from Mr. Holt. The British newspaper the Guardian broke the story Sunday.

Holt’s racist writings came to light following last week’s massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The alleged shooter, Dylann Roof, was apparently influenced by Holt. A website registered to Mr. Roof contained a manifesto crediting the Council of Conservative Citizens for the author’s knowledge of “brutal black-on-white murders.”

Which goes back to the donations – and how the Republican Party, already struggling to attract minority voters, can overcome this public-relations blow.

The answer to the original question – why Senator Cruz and the others didn’t know about Holt – is that campaigns receive thousands of donations, and don’t have the staff to investigate the background of every donor. Typically, only when a donor’s unwelcome affiliation is brought to a campaign’s attention does the campaign take action.

For now, though, campaigns may have to step up their game in going through donor lists and checking for potentially problematic names. The use of guilt-by-association can be a powerful campaign tool, and candidates usually want to expunge controversial people from their midst as quickly as possible.

“They’re going to have to at least look through their donations, particularly those running for president, to make sure there aren’t more items like this,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “This is a very time intensive process. It’s not, ‘Let me hit “find” on a Word document.’ ”

When asked by the Guardian, Cruz’s campaign said it would return its donation from Holt. Senator Paul’s campaign says it’s donating its Holt money to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, a charity set up to support the families of the Charleston shooting victims.

Former Senator Santorum is doing the same.

Click here to continue reading…

SOURCE: Linda Feldmann
Christian Science Monitor

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