Dylann Roof's Supremacist Group Donated to The GOP

Over the weekend, a website believed to be created by Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof came to public attention, providing some disturbing insight into the 21-year-old's apparently racially charged intentions behind Wednesday's massacre that killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In his self-published "manifesto," Roof named a white supremacist group that he claims made him see the so-called truth about race relations in America. As it turns out, this white supremacist group, Council of Conservative Citizens, is tied to Republican politicians — including some who are currently hoping to end up in the White House by 2017.

The Guardian revealed that CofCC President Earl Holt has donated to a number of leading GOP politicians in recent years, including Tea Party leaders who are hoping to win the 2016 Republican nomination for president. The organization, which states under its principles that it opposes interracial marriage and non-Western Europe immigration, has been labeled an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

After looking into FEC filings, The Guardian discovered that Holt has contributed thousands in funds to the following GOP politicians and their campaigns:

  • At least $8,500 to Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz and his political action committee (PAC), Jobs Growth & Freedom Fund since 2012.
  • At least $1,500 to current Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and his campaign.
  • At least $1,750 to current Republican presidential candidate Sen Rand Paul's RandPAC.
  • $2,000 in funds to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
  • $3,200 in funds to former Congresswoman and one-time presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
  • $2,000 in funds to Rep. Steve King, a Republican of Iowa known for his ultra-right-wing views on race relations, immigration, women's rights and health care.
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So far, only Cruz has publicly addressed the donations. In a statement obtained by Fox News, a spokesperson for the Cruz campaign said Cruz is returning the $8,500 in funds Holt contributed. "Senator Cruz believes that there is no place for racism in society," the statement read. "Upon learning about Mr. Holt's background and his contributions to the campaign, he immediately instructed that all of those donations be returned."

Bustle has reached out to the campaigns of Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, and has not received a response at this time. A spokesperson for the Santorum campaign told The Guardian that the former senator "does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind. Period."

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In his apparent written screed against integration, Roof acknowledges CofCC as the organization that transformed his entire belief system and views on race in America. "The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders," Roof wrote on the website believed to be his, "I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong.""From this point I researched deeper," Roof continued, leading into detailed sections about African-Americans, Hispanics and Jewish people. Although he only makes one reference to CofCC, his manifesto is not too far off from the group's statement of principles.

For example, CofCC believes America should remain a "European country" with all-white members:

We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.

"We therefore oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime," CofCC states under its principles.

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But on Sunday, not long after Roof's manifesto surfaced, Holt released a statement denying any role CofCC may have played in radicalizing the 21-year-old white man from South Carolina. However, he said he was "not surprised" that Roof cited CofCC and found the group's website through Googling "black-on-white crime."

In a separate statement released to the media, CofCC said its members were "deeply saddened" by the shooting massacre, and that it has never condoned violence. "We pray, for the sake of all Americans, that there will not be an escalation of racial tension," the CofCC statement read.

Yet the statement seems to sidestep the issue of racism and white extremism. In an attempt to possibly prove that Roof was not driven by racism, CofCC mentions that "25 percent [of his Facebook friends] are black." The organization continued:

The media is focused on a picture uploaded May 21st that shows Roof with patches on his jacket representing the old flag of South Africa, and the old flag of Rhodesia. It is unclear what caused Roof to go on the shooting spree. It seems that Roof’s interest in racial politics started only very recently.

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