Simpson, others returning donations from white supremacist
June 22, 2015 at 12:40 p.m.
Updated June 22, 2015 at 12:40 p.m.
State Rep. David Simpson said today he is returning a donation from a Longview-based white supremacist.
Simpson, the Longview Republican who today made official his run for the District 1 Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Kevin Eltife, was among a number of Texas elected officials who said they were disposing of campaign donations from Earl P. Holt III, leader of a group with ties to last week's church massacre in South Carolina. Others include U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott.
Holt, who heads the Missouri-based Council of Conservative Citizens, has donated to dozens of Republican candidates and causes across the country, federal records show, including U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and the Republican Party of Gregg County,
At the state level, Holt has given the most money — $1,250 in total — to Simpson's campaigns.
"I am returning the money today," Simpson said in a statement. "I have also asked my staff to find the best way I can personally donate to the families that lost their loved ones in this horrific attack."
The second largest recipient of Holt's money at the state level has been the Republican Party of Gregg County, which has received $1,000.
Records show U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert also has received campaign donations and donations to his political action committee.
The highest-ranking recipient of Holt's money with Texas ties is U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. His presidential campaign said today Cruz was giving back $8,500 in contributions from Holt. Gov. Greg Abbott also was planning to dispose of funds received from Holt, his office said.
Among dozens of other donations, records show Holt donated to Michelle Bachmann, former U.S. representative from Minnesota; U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R, Ariz.; and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
Holt declined to comment. On campaign finance reports, his occupation is listed variously as retired, slumlord, landlord and property management.
The 21-year-old suspect in the massacre at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, cited the Council of Conservative Citizens in a manifesto being attributed to him. The organization and Holt both have a history of taking racially charged positions and making racially charged comments.