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Eye On Boise

Risch says he’ll donate $500 contribution from racist group head to charity

Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch will donate $500 to charity after campaign finance documents revealed the president of an organization classified as a white supremacist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center made a campaign contribution in that amount to Risch in 2013, reports Melissa Davlin of Idaho Public TV. Council of Conservative Citizens president Earl Holt made the Risch contribution in August of 2013; it was in addition to about $25,000 in donations he made to other Republican politicians, including Rand Paul, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz.

Attention has focused on Holt since Charleston church mass shooting suspect Dylann Roof, in a manifesto, cited Holt’s Council of Conservative Citizens website among his inspirations for the attack. “Prior to your mentioning the name Earl Holt to me today and me mentioning that name to him, the senator had never heard of Earl Holt,” wrote Suzanne Wrasse, Risch’s spokeswoman, in an e-mail to Davlin. “Senator Risch has received donations from thousands of different individuals, PACs, and institutional donors over the past seven years. Since there are thousands of donors, it is inevitable that the list of donors contains some ‘scoundrels.’”

“Given Mr. Holt’s statements regarding race it would be inappropriate to retain his contribution,” Wrasse said. “The amount he contributed will be donated to a charitable fund.” Wrasse said she didn’t know to which charity Risch would donate. The New York Times reported today that Cruz said he’d be returning $8,500 in contributions he received from Holt; and Rand Paul’s PAC said it would donate $2,250 in Holt contributions to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund to assist the families of the victims in the church shooting. You can read Davlin’s full report here.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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