FREEPORT, Maine (CBS/AP) – Is shopping at L.L. Bean now a political act?
The president-elect has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the Maine retailer. L.L. Bean is the target of a boycott by the anti-Donald Trump group #GrabYourWallet because a Bean family member donated tens of thousands of dollars to a pro-Trump PAC last year.
“Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean.,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
L.L. Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman has distanced the company from Linda Bean and said that her political activity does not speak for the nine other board members and 50 family owners. Federal campaign finance reports show donors linked to L.L. Bean donate to both Democratic and Republican causes.
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“And as every member of the family would agree, no individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that L.L. built,” Gorman said. “With this in mind, we are deeply troubled by the portrayal of L.L.Bean as a supporter of any political agenda.”
Trump’s tweet came soon after Linda Bean appeared on Fox & Friends Thursday morning. She told talk show hosts that the #GrabYourWallet campaign would hurt L.L. Bean workers the most.
“They’re the ones, they’re the victims – the company’s employees – if the boycott succeeds,” she said.
The amended filings by Making Maine Great Again LLC say Bean donated $30,000, not $60,000 as the political action committee originally reported.
The filings say a $15,000 contribution came from Diana Bean, who is believed to be Linda Bean’s sister.
The Federal Election Commission said Bean made excessive contributions to the PAC, which was limited to individual contributions of $5,000 in a single year. The group is taking steps to change its registration to a super PAC, allowing it to raise unlimited funds.
The PAC spent $66,000 on signs and ads supporting Trump, who won enough support in the 2nd Congressional District to split Maine’s electoral votes, taking one vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s three.
Shannan Coulter, the co-founder of the hashtag #GrabYourWallet, included the company on the group’s boycott list after The Associated Press reported on Linda Bean’s contribution last week.
“The reality is that there are serious repercussions for a company’s brand and bottom line when consumers learn it does business with the Trump family or helped to fund Donald’s rise to political power,” Coulter said.
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