APNewsBreak: L.L. Bean heiress in trouble over pro-Trump PAC

Markets Associated Press

The Federal Election Commission told L.L. Bean heiress Linda Bean that she made excessive contributions to a political action committee she created to support Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

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According to a Wednesday letter obtained by The Associated Press, federal regulators say Bean's Making America Great Again LLC was limited to individual contributions of $5,000 in a single year — and Bean contributed $60,000. The group spent $66,862 supporting Trump.

The FEC letter says the group could face punitive action or an audit if it doesn't respond.

The group on Friday took steps recommended by the FEC to change its registration to a super PAC that can raise unlimited funds. The group, which also goes by the name Making Maine Great Again, spent the funds on signs, Facebook and radio advertisements, and 30-second TV ads in support of Trump.

Trump won enough support in the 2nd Congressional District to split Maine's electoral votes, taking one vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton's three. The outdoors retailer's headquarters is in Freeport, which is part of the 1st Congressional District.

Bean's group told the FEC that it intends to raise unlimited funds as allowed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in SpeechNOW v. FEC. That decision removed contribution limits on independent expenditures.

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Bean's group was registered as an independent expenditure group supporting one candidate, which can accept up to $5,000 in contributions from a person in a single year.

A spokesman for the FEC said it does not comment on such individual cases.

Bean, the granddaughter of L.L. Bean founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. She is a member of the retailer's board and runs a lobster company called Linda Bean's Lobster Dreams. She has previously run for Congress and is a big donor for Republican causes.