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New Balance founder gave nearly $400,000 to Trump

New Balance athletic shoes.

Shutterstock / Olga Popova

New Balance athletic shoes.

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.”

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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.
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