Abbott to donate $1K contribution from white supremacist

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is donating to charity a $1,000 campaign contribution from the leader of a white supremacist group cited by Charleston church murder suspect Dylann Roof.

Abbott's spokesman Matt Hirsch said Monday the money will be given to the Salvation Army.

During his campaign for governor, Abbott received two $500 donations from Earl Holt, who is the leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Roof is accused of killing nine blacks at a South Carolina church last week. An online manifesto purportedly written by Roof said he learned about "brutal black on white murders" from Holt's group.

Holt has donated to numerous GOP candidates on the national and state level. That includes Sen. Ted Cruz, who has said he will return a $8,500 donation.

The Guardian newspaper also reported that Holt donated to presidential candidates Rand Paul and Rick Santorum. Both Paul and Santorum's campaigns said Monday they would donation the money received from Holt to a fund set up by Charleston's mayor to assist the victims' families.

"I abhor the sentiments Mr. Holt has expressed," Santorum said in a statement. "These statements and sentiments are unacceptable. Period. End of sentence."

In a statement posted online Sunday, Holt said that it "was not surprising" that Roof credited his group with his knowledge of black-on-white crime. But he added that the Council of Conservative Citizens is "hardly responsible for the actions of this deranged individual merely because he gleaned accurate information from our website," and said that the group doesn't condone illegal activities.

Holt also donated to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, and to several current and former GOP members of Congress, including Iowa Rep. Steve King, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and former Minnesota Rep. and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, according to the Guardian.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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