L.L. Bean has said that it likes to stay out of politics. But Linda Bean, granddaughter of the company’s founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, is clearly an exception.
The 75-year-old frequent contributor to conservative causes made a $60,000 donation to a Trump-supporting PAC called Making America Great Again LLC, according to the AP.
One problem: individual donations to PACs registered as supporting one candidate are limited to only $5,000.
The group spent $66,862 in support of Trump overall.
The Federal Election Commission told the group it could face an audit or punitive action if it doesn’t respond, according to a letter obtained by the AP. In response, the group says it will seek to re-register as a super PAC that is allowed to raise unlimited funds from individual donors. The PAC’s chairman, David Jones, told the AP that he thought it was already registered as such.
The incident has brought on scrutiny of L.L. Bean, which is famous for its weatherproof shoes and outdoor gear. The brand is now facing a boycott by the “Grab Your Wallet” group, which has focused on avoiding products made by companies that support Trump, or by companies with owners who have publicly supported Trump.
L.L. Bean responded to the boycott in a Facebook post statement written by its executive chairman, Shawn Gorman, who notes that Linda Bean is only one of more than 50 family members involved in the company.
“No individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that [founder] L.L. built,” the statement read. “L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics. To be included in this boycott campaign is simply misguided, and we respectfully request that Grab Your Wallet reverse its position.”
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