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New Balance founder gave nearly $400,000 to Trump

Shutterstock / Olga Popova

New Balance athletic shoes.

By Jim O’Sullivan Globe Staff 

L.L. Bean found itself in hot water recently when a board member voiced support for President-elect Donald Trump, and the Associated Press reported she had donated to support his campaign.

But another footwear magnate, whose company had already drawn unwanted Trump-related attention, quietly gave much more than vocal support – and a much larger donation.

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Jim Davis, chairman of New Balance, sent a $396,500 check to Trump Victory in September, according to federal campaign finance records. The political action committee is a joint fundraising group for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.

The company issued a statement on the donation Friday: “New Balance did not endorse a candidate in this presidential election or any other. An employee’s personal support of a candidate does not equate to a company endorsement.”

Political donations are nothing new for Davis, who has given to Democrats and Republicans alike. But his recent giving has been heavily weighted to the GOP side, including at least $400,000 last year to groups dedicated specifically to protecting and expanding the party’s majority in the US House and Senate.

New Balance, the Brighton-based sneak behemoth, wandered into controversy shortly after the election when an official’s comment agreeing with Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership triggered Internet mayhem. Davis attended a Trump fundraiser in Boston last June.


Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at jim.osullivan@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.