Senator Ted Cruz pauses while speaking during the South Carolina Freedom Summit in Greenville, S.C. on May 9, 2015.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

GOP candidates return money with white supremacist ties

Updated
Presidential candidates are generally in the habit of collecting, not giving away, as many campaign contributions as possible, but as msnbc’s Benjy Sarlin reported, there are exceptions.
Republican presidential candidates are returning donations tied to a white supremacist group purportedly cited by Dylann Storm Roof, the man authorities have charged with killing nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
 
Over the weekend, an online document emerged written by someone using the name Dylann Roof – posting to a website registered using Roof’s mother’s home address – with a lengthy, racist message. Of particular interest, the writer pointed to the Council of Conservative Citizens as a source of racist information.
That wouldn’t be particularly relevant to electoral politics, were it not for the fact that the Council of Conservative Citizens’ president, Earl Holt III, turns out to be a generous Republican donor. The New York Times reported this morning:
The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.
The story appears to have first been reported by The Guardian.
 
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before the GOP beneficiaries of Holt’s contributions decided they didn’t want anything to do with his financial support.
 
Ted Cruz, who received a reported $8,500 from the CCC president, vowed to “immediately refund” the money. Rand Paul’s campaign said it would donate Holt’s contribution to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund. Rick Santorum soon after made the same announcement.
 
The Guardian’s report added, “Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were ‘the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world’ – were posted online in his name.”
 
Among the other GOP officials who’ve received contributions from Holt are Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.).
 
* Update: Among the many GOP officials returning or donating money from Holt this afternoon are Steve King, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
 

Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz

GOP candidates return money with white supremacist ties

Updated