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Rep. Mia Love, the first black Republican woman to serve in Congress, is among the politicians rushing to rid themselves of campaign donations from the leader of a white-supremacist group believed to have influenced alleged Charleston, S.C., shooter Dylann Roof.
Love's campaign spokeswoman Holly Richardson said the campaign returned $1,000 Monday to Earl Holt, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, noting the donations were unsolicited.
"We do not want to associate with anyone that sees Mia or any other American as less than human," Richardson said.
Other politicians have decried Holt, with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum saying: "I abhor the sentiments Mr. Holt has expressed. These statements and sentiments are unacceptable. Period. End of sentence."
Holt and his group are believed to have influenced Roof, 21, who is accused of killing nine black people who were attending a prayer service at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17. A manifesto on a site tied to Holt, but not yet verified as being written by Roof, discusses the "brutal black on white murders" identified by Holt's group. In a statement, Holt condemned the shooting but continued to criticize black-on-white crime.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the council as a hate group.
Holt, who lives in Texas, donated $500 to Love's unsuccessful 2012 campaign and gave two $250 contributions to her victorious 2014 effort. The most recent donation came in July 2014.
Holt also sent $500 to Dan Liljenquist, a former state senator from Utah, who was defeated by Sen. Orrin Hatch in the 2012 Republican primary.
Overall, he has given more than $60,000 to Republicans, including Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas. He's also given to Santorum and Rep. Rand Paul, R-Ky, another presidential candidate.
These politicians have taken different routes to dispose of Holt's contributions. Love and Cruz are returning the funds. Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., who is planning to run for president, will give the money to an unidentified charity. Santorum and Paul, along with Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Joni Ernst of Iowa, are sending the money to a fund set up to assist the families of those killed in the church shooting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.