Group cited by Roof donated to Republicans

2015-06-22 18:55
Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. (David Goldman, AP)

Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the Emanuel AME Church following a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. (David Goldman, AP)

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Washington - The head of a white supremacist group cited by the suspected gunman who killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston last week, has given thousands of dollars to several 2016 Republican presidential candidates, according to media reports.

In a purported manifesto, Dylann Roof, the suspected killer, said the Trayvon Martin case had prompted him to search "black on White crime" on Google.

"The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders... At this moment I realised that something was very wrong," it said.  

Earl Holt III of Texas, leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has donated a total of $65 000 to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, among other politicians in recent years, the Guardian reported late on Sunday.

The New York Times also reported the donations on Monday. Reuters could not immediately confirm the reports.

According to the Guardian, Holt also donated to campaigns for other Republican lawmakers, including US Representative Steve King of Iowa, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona. He has donated to presidential candidate Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, it said.

Representatives for Cruz told the papers that his campaign would immediately return the $8 500 given by Holt.

Representatives for Paul did not respond to the newspapers' request for comment, while a Santorum spokesperson told the Guardian the candidate does not condone racism, but did not address the donated funds.

Reuters could not immediately confirm who created the website with the manifesto or the authenticity of the photographs posted on it. The FBI has said it is investigating the website.

In a statement on Sunday, Holt said he was not surprised that his group helped inform Roof but that it was "hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual", according to the newspapers. The group, on its website, has said it was saddened by the South Carolina shootings.

The Missouri-based Council of Conservative Citizens advocates "whites rights" and believes "the United States is a European country and that Americans are part of the European people". It opposes integration and so-called race-mixing and calls for the halt of immigration, according to its website.

The organisation has been cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an extremist group that has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity".

Read more on:    us  |  charleston shooting  |  us elections 2016

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