SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – The first black Republican woman elected to Congress is returning $1,000 in donations from Earl Holt, the alleged white supremacist whose writings have reportedly inspired Charleston shooter Dylann Roof.
A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mia Love said Monday that she would be returning the three donations Holt made to her campaign immediately, after being contacted by CNN.
Love made history last November when Utah residents selected her as the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress.
Holt, who is president Council of Conservative Citizens, donated thousands of dollars to Republican candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum in previous elections.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Council of Concerned Citizens as a hate group. The group, on its website, formally denounced the killings in Charleston last week, but Holt wrote in a post that Roof and others had “legitimate grievances” based on alleged black-on-white violence.
The presidential donations were first reported by The Guardian on Sunday. Holt gave $1,750 to Paul and $8,500 to Cruz’s campaign and super PAC.
A Paul spokesman said Monday that the Holt donations would be given instead to to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist families of the victims. A Cruz spokesman said Monday that the donations would be returned to Holt immediately.
Requests for comment from the Santorum campaign were not returned Monday morning.
Holt has given $62,500 to top-name Republicans since 2010, according to the FEC, including $2,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. He also donated $1,000 to former U.S. Rep. Allen West, the black Republican congressman from Florida.
Tea party-backed candidates, including Paul, Cruz, Santorum and others have been the biggest beneficiaries of Holt’s donations. Holt also donated to the failed bids of tea party stalwarts Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.