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White supremacist who inspired SC shooter gave $3,500 to Scott Walker

White supremacist who inspired SC shooter gave $3,500 to Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker’s political campaign has received $3,500 from the leader of a white supremacist group cited in a manifesto written by the man who allegedly gunned down nine African-Americans last week at a South Carolina church.

Earl Holt, whom suspected gunman Dylann Roof cited as contributing to his views on race, has given at least $65,000 to Republican politicians, including presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, according to a report by the Guardian.

The Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative first reported Holt’s donations to Walker on Monday, after the Guardian reported the donations to the other Republican presidential aspirants.

Scot Ross of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now issued a blistering statement urging Walker to return Holt's money.

“Scott Walker has taken multiple contributions totaling thousands of dollars from a despicable known white supremacist,” Ross said. “Scott Walker should be ashamed to have taken Earl Holt’s money in the first place, and he should immediately return those contributions and any other undisclosed contributions he’s received from Holt to his numerous fundraising entities.”

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Walker's "testing the waters" presidential fundraising committee, responded to a request for comment with an email saying, "The governor will be donating this money to charity."

Holt, of Longview, Texas, is president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, or CofCC. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the group as a white supremacist organization that holds that blacks are inferior.

According to the law center: “The group's newspaper, ‘Citizens Informer,’ regularly publishes articles condemning ‘race mixing,’ decrying the evils of illegal immigration, and lamenting the decline of white, European civilization.”

Holt also gave $3,500 to Walker in seven separate donations of $500, as well as $250 to state recall Senate candidate Jonathan Steitz, a policy advisor to the conservative Heartland Institute, a think tank that has opposed policies to address global warming.

Gannett reported that Holt also gave $1,000 to Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s Prosperity PAC in two donations in 2011 and 2012. Gannett also reported that Holt gave Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson's campaign $250 in 2010 and $1,000 in 2013, listing his occupation as landlord in 2013 and "slumlord" in 2010. 

A Johnson spokeswoman said he'll be donating the money to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, set up to aid the victims of the shooting.

A spokesman for Ryan's PAC said he'll be giving the money to Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where the massacre occurred.  

Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, has returned $8,500 his campaign received from Holt. Paul, a senator from Kentucky who received $1,750 from Holt, and Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator who received $1,500, are donating the funds to the Emanuel Hope Fund.

"I abhor the sentiments Mr. Holt has expressed," Santorum said in a statement. "These statements and sentiments are unacceptable. Period. End of sentence. Our campaign is about, and has always been about, uniting America, not dividing her."

In a statement posted Sunday, Holt said of Roof’s reference to the CofCC:

“This is not surprising: The CofCC is one of perhaps three websites in the world that accurately and honestly report black-on-white violent crime, and in particular, the seemingly endless incidents involving black-on-white murder.”

He goes on to say, “The CofCC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.

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