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Olive Garden denies it supports Trump amid boycott calls in apparent hoax

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Posted at 9:24 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 21:14:31-04

Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden is denying that it has made contributions to President Donald Trump's campaign as thousands have called for a boycott of Olive Garden.

It all started over the weekend after a now-deleted tweet claimed Olive Garden has contributed to Trump's campaign. After the tweet went viral, thousands on Twitter and Facebook used the hashtag #BoycottOliveGarden to spread the word.

On Monday, Olive Garden fired back on its Twitter account.

"We don’t know where this information came from, but it is incorrect," Olive Garden tweeted. "Our company does not donate to presidential candidates."

According to the Federal Election Commission, it appears the accusations that Olive Garden and its parent company Darden supported Trump were false. Corporations are forbidden in directly contributing to elections, according to FEC guidelines.

Previously, Darden operated a Political Action Committee that many top executives contributed to. According to government filings, the Darden Restaurants, Inc. Employees Good Government Fund PAC made significant contributions to a number of Republican and Democrat leaders.

In the 2013-14 election cycle, the fund made contributions to both the Democratic and Republican House and Senate election committees.

At the end of 2015, Darden announced it was ending the PAC.

Although Darden and Olive Garden cannot make contributions directly, many top executives for Darden have made individual political contributions.

According to FEC filings, only one of the 19 Darden executives listed on its website made a contribution to a presidential campaign since 2015. Susan Connelly, a Darden Senior VP, contributed $7,700 to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign (($5,000 to Hillary Victory Fund, $2,700 to Hillary for America)). She also made a $2,500 National Republican Senate Committee contribution and a $2,300 donation to the Democratic National Committee.