Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Defends L.L. Bean Heiress over Donations

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Trump Defends L.L. Bean Heiress over Donations

Article excerpt

AUGUSTA, Maine President-elect Donald Trump is urging people to buy L.L. Bean as the company faces calls for a boycott because of a family members donations to his candidacy.

Trump on Thursday tweeted his thanks to Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the outdoors retailer's founder, and cited her "great support and courage. He ended by saying, "Buy L.L. Bean," garnering criticism from the nonpartisan money-in-politics watchdog Every Voice for "personally encouraging his supporters to boost the companies of his super PAC donors."

Bean called the backlash against her "bullying" and "un- American" during Thursday morning interviews on Fox's news and business channels and vowed she would not step down from the company's board of directors.

"That's all they are: a small kernel of hardcore bullies out on the left coast, West Coast, in California, trying to control what we do, what we buy, what we sell in Maine," she said on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends."

Bean and the Freeport-based retailer have been targeted by anti- Trump groups following The Associated Press' reporting of her donations to the pro-Trump Making Maine Great Again PAC. The founders of (hash)GrabYourWallet called for a boycott of L.L. Bean but said it would stop if the privately held company, known for its signature waterproof rubber-bottom boots, cut formal ties with Linda Bean.

The Federal Election Commission said Linda Bean made excessive contributions to the PAC, which it said was limited to individual contributions of $5,000 in a single year. The FEC said the group could face punitive action or an audit if it doesn't respond. The group is now taking steps recommended by the FEC to change its registration to a super PAC, allowing it to raise unlimited funds.

Bean, who noted that she gave the donation personally, called employees of the company "victims" but also said the calls for a boycott helped business.

"According to my son who's vice chairman of the board, he says there's been a slight uptick in business actually, Bean said on Fox Business Network's "Mornings with Maria."

On Wednesday, the pro-Trump PAC amended its filings to include donations it hadn't disclosed to the federal government last year. …

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