Council of Conservative Citizens

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Council of Conservative Citizens
AbbreviationCofCC or CCC
PredecessorCitizens' Councils
Formation1985; 39 years ago (1985)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.[1]
HeadquartersSt. Louis, Missouri, U.S.[3]
Earl P. Holt III

The Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC or CCC) is an American white supremacist organization.[4][5][6] Founded in 1985, it advocates white nationalism, and supports some paleoconservative causes.[7][8][9][10] In the organization's statement of principles, it states that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind".[11]

Headquartered in Potosi, Missouri,[12] as of 2015, the group's president is Earl Holt; Jared Taylor is the group's spokesman, and Paul Fromm is its international director.[13]

The CofCC traces its provenance to the segregationist Citizens' Councils of America, which were founded in 1954, but had slipped into obscurity by 1973. The CofCC's original mailing list came from the Citizen's Council, as did several members of the CofCC Board of Directors.[1][14]


The Council of Conservative Citizens was founded in 1985 in Atlanta, Georgia, and relocated to St. Louis, Missouri. The CofCC was formed by white supremacists, including some former members of the Citizens' Councils of America, sometimes called the White Citizens' Councils, a segregationist organization that was prominent in the 1950s through 1970. Lester Maddox, former governor of Georgia, was a charter member.[15] Gordon Lee Baum, a retired personal injury lawyer, was CEO until he died in March 2015.[16][17] Earl P. Holt III of Longview, Texas[18][19] is the president. Leonard Wilson, a former Alabama State Committeeman for both Republican and Democratic parties and state commander for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was a founder.[20]

The organization often holds meetings with various other ethno-nationalist organizations in the United States, and sometimes meets with nationalist organizations from Europe. In 1997, several members of the CofCC attended an event hosted by Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front party.

Following several articles detailing some of its members' past involvement with the White Citizens' Councils, several conservative politicians distanced themselves from the organization. Although Representative Bob Barr had spoken at CofCC functions, in 1999 he rejected the group, saying he found the group's racial views to be "repugnant," and that he had not realized the nature of the group when he agreed to speak at the group's meeting.[21] Barr gave the keynote speech at its 1998 national convention.[22]

In later years, the press reported the involvement of other politicians with the CofCC. For instance, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had also been a member of the CofCC. Following the press report, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Jim Nicholson, denounced the CofCC for holding "racist and nationalist views" and demanded that Lott formally denounce the organization. Although Lott refused to denounce the organization, he said that he had resigned his membership. Subsequently, Nicholson demanded Lott denounce his former segregationist views following a speech he gave at Senator Strom Thurmond's birthday dinner in 2002, when Lott praised the Senator's 1948 Dixiecrat presidential campaign.[23] Following the controversy sparked by Nicholson's demands, Lott apologized for his past support for segregation, his past associations, and his remarks at Thurmond's birthday. This caused him loss of support from a number of important segregationists, not least Thurmond himself. Consequently, Lott resigned his post as Senate Minority Leader.

Similarly, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D) had attended an event of the organization's St. Louis predecessor, the "Metro-South Citizens Council", shortly before the name was changed in the mid-1980s. He has repeatedly said that this was a mistake.[24]

In 1993, Mike Huckabee, then the Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas, agreed to speak at the CofCC's national convention in Memphis, Tennessee, in his campaign for the governorship of Arkansas. By the time of the CofCC convention, Huckabee was unable to leave Arkansas. He sent a videotaped speech, which "was viewed and extremely well received by the audience," according to the CofCC newsletter.[25] However, following his election as governor, in April 1994, Huckabee withdrew from a speaking engagement before the CofCC. He commented, "I will not participate in any program that has racist overtones. I've spent a lifetime fighting racism and anti-Semitism."[26]

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Miami Herald tallied 38 federal, state, and local politicians who appeared at CofCC events between 2000 and 2004.[27] The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says the following politicians are members or have spoken at meetings: Senator Trent Lott, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, Mississippi state senators Gary Jackson, and Dean Kirby, several Mississippi state representatives. Speakers have included Ex-governors Guy Hunt of Alabama, and Kirk Fordice of Mississippi. U.S. Senator Roger Wicker[28] of Mississippi is said to have attended as well.[29]

In 2005, the Council of Conservative Citizens held its National Conference in Montgomery, Alabama. George Wallace Jr., an Alabama Public Service Commissioner and former State Treasurer who was then running for Lieutenant Governor, and Sonny Landham, an actor, spoke at the conference.

Mississippi is the only state that has major politicians who are openly CofCC members, including State Senators and State Representatives. The CofCC once claimed 34 members in the Mississippi legislature.[30]


The CofCC considers itself a traditionalist group opposing liberals and what they refer to as mainstream conservatives; it supports national self-determination, immigration restriction, federalism, and home rule, and opposes free trade and global capitalism. Its specific issues include states' rights, race relations (especially interracial marriage, which it opposes), and Christian right values. In 2003, a full 35 years after his assassination, they criticized Martin Luther King Jr. as a "charlatan" and left-wing agitator of Black American communities, with notable ties to communism and holding personal sexual morals unworthy of a person deserving national recognition.[31] They consider the American Civil Rights Movement and the Frankfurt School as elementally subversive to the separation of powers under the United States Constitution. The Council of Conservative Citizens is active in organizing the restriction, reduction, or moratorium of immigration, enforcing laws and regulations against illegal aliens, ending what they see as racial discrimination against whites through affirmative action and racial quotas, overturning Supreme Court rulings and Congressional Acts such as busing for desegregation and gun control, ending free trade economic policy, and supporting a traditionalist sexual morality, which includes promotion of the Defense of Marriage Act and opposition to the inclusion of homosexuality as a civil right.[citation needed]

The CofCC's statement of principles condemns the federal government's intervention into state and local affairs in forcing racial integration (item 2), free-trade and globalism, immigration by non-Europeans (item 2), homosexuality, and interracial marriage (item 6).[11] CofCC's materials in 2001 said, "God is the author of racism. God is the One who divided mankind into different types. Mixing the races is rebelliousness against God."[32]

In a 2015 statement, president Earl Holt wrote, "The CofCC is one of perhaps three websites in the world that accurately and honestly report black-on-white violent crime, and in particular, the seemingly endless incidents involving black-on-white murder."[33]

The CofCC publishes the Citizens Informer newspaper quarterly. Previous editors include Samuel T. Francis.[34]


Various critics describe the organization as a hate group. According to The Atlantic, most conservatives do not consider it to be conservative, and believe that the organization added the word to their name in order to hide their true ideology.[35] The New York Times called it a white separatist group with a thinly veiled white supremacist agenda.[36] The Anti-Defamation League said: "Although the group claims not to be racist, its leaders traffic with other white supremacist groups."[29] The group is considered by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to be part of the "neo-confederate movement",[37] and organizations, such as the NAACP,[38][39] as well as the Anti-Defamation League, consider it to be a threat.[40] In The Nation, Max Blumenthal described it as one of the United States' largest white supremacist groups.[41]

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has defended the group against charges of racism, stating on the basis of a viewing of their website that there is "no evidence" that the CofCC supports segregation.[42]

Mass murderer Dylann Roof, the perpetrator of the 2015 Charleston church shooting, searched the Internet for information on "black on White crime" and wrote in his manifesto The Last Rhodesian that the first website he found was the CofCC's.[43] He cited its portrayal of "black on White murders" as something that radically changed him ("I have never been the same since that day").[44][45] The CofCC issued a statement on its website "unequivocally condemn[ing]" the attack, but that Roof has some "legitimate grievances" against black people. An additional statement from Earl Holt III, president of the CofCC, disavowed responsibility for the crime and stated that the group's website "accurately and honestly report[s] black-on-white violent crime".[46] While these statements were condemned across the mainstream, several white supremacist organization supported the CofCC for standing by Roof's motivations, including the League of the South, a neo-confederate hate group.[47]

In the wake of Roof's arrest and subsequent exposure of his affinity for the CofCC; an investigation revealed that Holt made campaign contributions to several prominent Republican politicians including 2016 Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Scott Walker as well as Republican Senators Rand Paul and Tom Cotton. Holt also reportedly donated to the campaign of African-American congresswoman Mia Love, whose parents are both immigrants.[48] All subsequently announced that they would return Holt's contributions or donate them to a fund for the families of Roof's victims.[49][50][51] In the summer of 2020, an investigation by NPR uncovered records showing Holt had donated $1,000 to the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump SuperPAC, aggressively engaged in the 2020 presidential campaign. Through their General Counsel, the committee to Defend the President said they had been unaware and thanked NPR for bringing the issue to their attention. The group said they would immediately refund Holt's donation.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Council of Conservative Citizens". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on August 4, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  2. ^ "Form 990". ProPublica. May 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "Council of Conservative Citizens".
  4. ^ "Extremism in America: Council of Conservative Citizens". Anti-Defamation League. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  5. ^ Tinnon, Jordan M. (2013). "The Council of Conservative Citizens: Extolling Nativism and Perpetuating Stereotypes". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Graham, David A. (June 22, 2015). "The White-Supremacist Group That Inspired a Racist Manifesto". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Adam G. Klein (June 2010). A Space for Hate: The White Power Movement's Adaptation Into Cyberspace. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-936117-07-9.
  8. ^ Rajani Bhatia (August 2, 2004). "Green or Brown? White Nativist Environmental Movements". In Abby L. Ferber (ed.). Home-Grown Hate. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780203644058. ISBN 978-0-203-64405-8. Archived from the original on November 4, 2021. Retrieved September 23, 2021.
  9. ^ Casey, Natasha (2020). "Beyond the Pale: irishness and White supremacy in 1990s america". Canadian Journal of Irish Studies (43).
  10. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (November 21, 2019). "White nationalists are openly operating on Facebook. The company won't act". The Guardian. Retrieved June 23, 2022. The Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist organization
  11. ^ a b "Council of Conservative Citizens - Statement of Principles". Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  12. ^ "Conservative Headlines". Conservative Headlines. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  13. ^ "Ex-Ontario teacher is international director of American 'white nationalist' group that influenced Dylann Roof". National Post. June 23, 2015.
  14. ^ "NAACP chief Ben Jealous plugs CofCC on CNN website and NPR". Council of Conservative Citizens. July 16, 2010. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
  15. ^ "Remembering Lester Maddox". Council of Conservative Citizens. Archived from the original on June 11, 2007. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
  16. ^ "Gordon Baum Who Helped Found CCC Has Died". SPLC Hatewatch. March 3, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  17. ^ "Tribute to Gordon Baum". March 3, 2015. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  18. ^ Bever, Lindsey (June 23, 2015). "'Supremacist' Earl Holt III and his donations to Republicans". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  19. ^ Berkowitz, Bill (July 8, 2015). "Where Did the President of a Racist Organization Get Money to Donate to Republicans?". Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  20. ^ Rawls, Phillip (July 10, 2008). "SPLC criticizes state senator's speech". Montgomery Advertiser. Associated Press. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  21. ^ Barr, Bob (March 1, 1999). "Representative Barr Responds (Letter)". Time. Archived from the original on March 19, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  22. ^ Phillips, Amber (June 22, 2015). "The political success of the Council of Conservative Citizens, explained". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  23. ^ Edsall, Thomas B.; Faler, Brian (December 11, 2002). "Lott Remarks on Thurmond Echoed 1980 Words". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  24. ^ Cameron, Carl (January 11, 2004). "Gephardt Admits Mistake on Race Issues in '70s". Fox News. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  25. ^ Blumenthal, Max (January 18, 2008). "Mike Huckabee's White Supremacist Links". HuffPost. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  26. ^ Duhart, Bill (April 12, 1994). "Huckabee won't appear with racist". Philadelphia Tribune.
  27. ^ Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser. "Communing with the Council". Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  28. ^ "DOZENS OF POLITICIANS ATTEND COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS EVENTS : Roger Wicker". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved December 22, 2018. Spoke to a combined Sept. 23, 2000, meeting of the West Tennessee and Marshall County CCC chapters in Byhalia, Miss. The meeting was also attended by the CCC's top national leaders, CEO Gordon Baum and President Tom Dover.
  29. ^ a b "Council of Conservative Citizens - Extremism in America". Archived from the original on May 21, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  30. ^ Beirich, Heidi; Potok, Mark (Fall 2003). "40 to Watch: What does the radical right look like after a year of reverses? The future may lie in the personalities still peopling the fringe". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on October 31, 2018.
  31. ^ "Reparations for Slavery: Strategies and Tactics". 2003. Archived from the original on February 6, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2007.
  32. ^ Zavadski, Katie (January 8, 2016). "The FBI Ignored Dylann Roof's Hate Group". Daily Beast. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  33. ^ Ladd, Donna (June 22, 2015). "From Terrorists to Politicians, the Council of Conservative Citizens Has a Wide Reach". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  34. ^ "Citizens Informer" (PDF). November 24, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
  35. ^ "The White-Supremacist Group That Inspired a Racist Manifesto". The Atlantic. June 22, 2015.
  36. ^ "Martin Luther King Jr.'s America". The New York Times. January 18, 1999.
  37. ^ "Center Report Exposes Links Between Hate Group, Lawmakers". Southern Poverty Law Center. September 2004. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2007.
  38. ^ Lerner, Kira "CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS SUE MISSISSIPPI PROSECUTOR FOR ILLEGALLY STRIKING BLACK JURORS". Published November 18, 2019, Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  39. ^ Montopoli, Brian NAACP Issues Report on Links Between Tea Party Factions and "Racist Hate Groups". Published October 10, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  40. ^ "The Council of Conservative Citizens: Declining Bastion of Hate", The Anti-Defemation League. Posted June 25, 2015 Retrieved December 31, 2020.
  41. ^ Blumenthal, Max (August 29, 2006). "Beyond Macaca: The Photograph That Haunts George Allen". The Nation. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  42. ^ "Hate in the Mainstream: Ann Coulter Defends White Supremacist Group". Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  43. ^ Hersher, Rebecca (January 10, 2017). "What Happened When Dylann Roof Asked Google For Information About Race?". NPR. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
  44. ^ "The Last Rhodesian". Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 20, 2015.
  45. ^ "Online manifesto linked to Charleston suspect Dylann Roof shows evolving views on race". Los Angeles Times. June 20, 2015.
  46. ^ Thompson, Catherine (June 22, 2015). "Group That May Have Influenced Charleston Killer: He Had Some 'Legitimate Grievances'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved June 22, 2015.
  47. ^
  48. ^ "Rising GOP star Mia Love glides into the spotlight at convention". Fox News. August 28, 2012. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved on December 30, 2020.
  49. ^ "Sen. Ted Cruz returns donations from head of group linked to Charleston gunman". Fox News. June 22, 2015.
  50. ^ Jon Swaine (June 22, 2015). "Leader of group cited in 'Dylann Roof manifesto' donated to top Republicans". The Guardian.
  51. ^ Ballhaus, Rebecca (June 22, 2015). "Republicans Relinquish Donations From White Supremacist Cited by Charleston Suspect". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  52. ^ Keith, Tamara, "Pro-Trump Group Returns Donation From White Nationalist After Media Inquiry", National Public Radio. Published July 25, 2020, Retrieved December 30, 2020.

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