Donald Trump Endorsed L.L.Bean Owner Who Compared Obama To Hitler

Linda Bean, one of the owners of the L.L.Bean company and a member of a secretive conservative group, once invoked Hitler in her rant on Obama.

Donald Trump on Wednesday urged people to buy L.L.Bean products days after reports emerged that one of its owners, Linda Bean, personally supported Trump and reportedly violated federal rules by donating excessively to a pro-Trump political action committee.

Twitter: @realDonaldTrump

Bean is the granddaughter and heiress of L.L. Bean and one of the 10 members on the board of directors of the Maine-based outdoor clothing company, best known for its boots and jackets.

Bean, a Republican donor who unsuccessfully ran for Congress twice, violated Federal Election Commission rules after she made excessive individual contributions to a pro-Trump PAC — Making American Great Again LLC — the Associated Press reported last week.

Bean contributed $60,000 to the group, the FEC said, exceeding the $5,000 individual contribution limit. The FEC warned that that PAC would face punitive action or an audit, according to a letter obtained by AP. The PAC responded by trying to change its registration to that of a super PAC, which can raise unlimited funds.

After the report, Grab Your Wallet — a campaign that calls for boycotts of companies that sell Trump products — added L.L.Bean to its list.

Facebook: llbean

In response, L.L.Bean's Executive Chairman, Shawn Gorman, issued a lengthy statement on Facebook, saying, "We were disappointed to learn that Grab Your Wallet is advocating a boycott against L.L.Bean solely because Linda Bean, who is only one of 50+ family members involved with the business, personally supported Donald Trump for President."

Gorman said that the company respected that "some may disagree with the political views of a single member of our 10-person board of directors."

However he said that L.L.Bean "does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions."

"Simply put, we stay out of politics," he said, urging Grab Your Wallet to reverse its boycott.

Linda Bean, who is a prominent business owner in Maine, once compared President Obama to Hitler in a 2012 letter she wrote to Maine Republicans.

In the letter, which urged Maine Republicans to endorse Mitt Romney instead of Ron Paul as the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Bean evoked Hitler in a rant against Obama's policies.

The letter was provided to BuzzFeed News by Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz, who had published excerpts of the it — along with a local politics website — in 2012. Nemitz told BuzzFeed News on Thursday that Bean had addressed the letter to Brent Tweed, a then–Ron Paul supporter who worked with the Defense of Liberty PAC. Tweed didn't return a request for comment.

"We are on the precipice of losing our country!" Bean wrote in her letter. "4 years from now we may not even have a ballot: OBAMA is HITLERIAN in his course, and he is closing in VERY FAST to eliminate totally our liberty rights and heritage."

Bean was also a listed as a 2014 member of The Council for National Policy (CNP), a group of "influential conservative leaders," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which described the CNP as "a shadowy and intensely secretive group" where "mainstream conservatives and extremists mix."

The CNP's 2014 membership directory, which it does not make public but was released by SPLC, also included Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-LGBT group Family Research Council, as well as Frank Gaffney, the founder of an anti-Muslim think tank, according to the SPLC. Kellyanne Conway, Trump's White House adviser, and Steven Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, were also listed as members.

Trump was described as "the star attraction" at the CNP's candidate forum in 2015 where he and other GOP presidential candidates were given 30 minutes to speak, the National Review, a conservative news site, reported.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Linda Bean and L.L.Bean for comment.

After Trump's tweet on Thursday, the L.L.Bean Twitter account responded primarily to Trump supporters.




A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.