In what is believed to be his manifesto, Dylann Roof names the Council of Conservative Citizens group as a major influence—and some Republican candidates have now discovered that the group's chief has given them thousands of dollars. Eric Holt has given Ted Cruz $8,500 since 2012, according to Federal Election Commission filings seen by the Guardian, and has also donated to Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney, among others. A Cruz spokesman tells the Guardian that the donations will immediately be refunded. A Santorum spokesman says the candidate—who was present yesterday when the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church held its first service since the shooting —"does not condone or respect racist or hateful comments of any kind."
The CCC once tried to project a mainstream image, but it has since "evolved into a crudely white supremacist group," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. In its Statement of Principles, the Missouri-based group vows to "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind ... [or] to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races." In a statement, the group condemned the Charleston murders, but it also defended the "legitimate grievances" felt by Roof and accused the media of ignoring black-on-white violence, Mother Jones reports. (The son of one of the Charleston victims says Roof intended to die in the church.)