Monday, June 22, 2015

"No Evidence" -- In What Universe?

The Washington Post reports that Earl Holt III, president of the Council of Conservative Citizens, has made thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the presidential campaigns and/or PACs of Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul.

Why does the Post find that interesting this week? Well, because Dylann Roof, the man accused of last week's massacre at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, name-checks CCC in his "manifesto" as a source of inspiration for his racist views.

What I find interesting is this, from the Post piece:

There is no evidence that the campaigns, including those of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum, were aware of the group's background ...

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

CCC influence in Republican politics is nothing new or secret. It's been publicly noticed and complained about since at least as far back as 1998, when US Representative Bob Barr (R-GA) gave the keynote speech at CCC's national convention. US Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) also spoke at a number of CCC events. Both got publicly chewed on for it; both disclaimed knowledge of the group's racist platform/program. In the aftermath of those mini-scandals, the chairman of the Republican National Committee asked party members to dissociate themselves from the group and there followed a congressional resolution (it didn't pass) "condemning the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens."

The idea that Rand Paul in particular was not "aware of the group's background" is just dumb. His father, Ron Paul, spoke at CCC events, appeared on CCC's podcast, received contributions from prominent CCC members, and was publicly pilloried in his 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns for all three of those things.

You would think, at this point, that all presidential campaigns would have "blacklists" of organizations and individuals whose money isn't worth the cost of accepting, and that CCC itself and prominent members of CCC would make those blacklists. The only question here is whether they haven't taken minimal reputational security measures of that kind (in which case they're idiots), or whether they think they don't have to and that nobody will notice (in which case they're idiots).

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