In his racist manifesto, terrorist and murderer Dylan Roof allegedly cites the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) as an inspiration for his views. Now there are reports coming out that Earl P. Holt III, one of the leaders of CofCC, has donated generously to the campaigns of several Republican presidential candidates. From the Guardian:
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.
After being approached by the Guardian on Sunday, Cruz’s presidential campaign said it would be returning all money the senator had received from Holt.
Other recipients include Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.
There will be a great deal of criticism of these campaigns for taking this money. The group is well-known. There is a Wikipedia page about it and a complete write-up on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups. Though I suppose our right-wing friends would ignore the latter’s opinion, considering that their pals at the American Family Association are also profiled there.
The campaigns are defending themselves by pleading ignorance. They have a case there. I’m not going to join the chorus of people who are demanding their heads for taking this money. I don’t expect multi-million dollar campaigns to investigate every donation and I don’t believe in guilt by association. (Despite the fact that this is a favorite technique of the right. See under: Ayers, Bill.)
Still, while I don’t believe that these campaigns should be denounced for accepting the donations – as long as they return them – I would recommend to their supporters that they engage in a little self-reflection. Maybe they could ask themselves why it is that their favorite conservative candidates’ policies, statements and dog-whistles attract the support of vile racists like Earl Holt.