Nevada GOP Sen. Dean Heller’s campaign will return a $500 campaign contribution received in 2012 from the leader of a white supremacist group mentioned by the alleged killer of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church.
The donation came from Earl Holt, president of the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens.
Dylann Roof, 21, who faces charges in the shooting, mentioned the council in an online manifesto he purportedly wrote before the massacre. The manifesto spoke of learning about “brutal black on white murders” from reading the council’s website.
The group in a post-shooting Web posting sought to distance itself from Roof, saying “The C of CC is hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website.”
Heller’s spokesman Neal Patel said Monday evening the office will give the $500 contribution to a South Carolina charity, the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.
Holt has given more than $60,000 to candidates and political action committees since 2010, federal election filings show.
Politicians in other states have made similar moves to give their donations to charity after learning the source of the money, including GOP presidential candidates U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen Ted Cruz of Texas, according to Politico.