- The Washington Times - Monday, June 22, 2015

Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are giving back donations received from the Texas leader of a white-supremacist group, who is reportedly linked to the 21-year-old man who confessed to killing nine people last week at a black church in South Carolina.

Mr. Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate, said Sunday night that he would be returning about $8,500 in donations he received from Earl Holt III, who lists himself as president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, The New York Times reported.

“We just learned this evening that Mr. Holt had contributed to the campaign,” a Cruz spokesman told the paper. “We will be immediately refunding all those donations.”

A spokesman for Mr. Paul told The Hill that the Republican candidate will be donating the $2,250 he received in donations from Mr. Holt to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, named after the church where the shooting took place.

Mr. Holt has also donated to Republican candidate Rick Santorum, Sen. Jeff Flake, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Steve King, and former Reps. Michele Bachmann and Todd Akin, The Times reported.

In a statement to The Washington Times, a spokesman for Mr. Flake said the senator is also donating the $1,000 contribution made by Mr. Holt to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

Responding to The New York Times’ report, Matthew Beynon, a spokesman for Mr. Santorum, told The Guardian in an email: “Senator Santorum does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind. Period. The views the Senator campaigns on are his own and he is focused on uniting America, not dividing her.”

Dylann Roof, the suspect arrested in the shootings, allegedly posted a manifesto online before the attack that said he first learned of “brutal black-on-white murders” from the Council of Conservative Citizens‘ website.

The group has condemned the killings in numerous posts online, but spokesman Jarred Taylor has explained that Mr. Roof’s actions “do not detract in the slightest from the legitimacy of some of the positions he has expressed.”

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