Technology

Oracle founder donated $250,000 to Graham PAC in final days of TikTok deal

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison donated $250,000 to a brilliant PAC supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) reelection marketing campaign as his firm closed in on a coveted place as TikTok’s US expertise associate.

FEC documents show that Ellison made the $250,000 donation to the Security is Strength PAC on September 14th. The Security is Strength PAC has purchased advertisements solely in help of Graham’s political ambitions, together with his 2015 presidential campaign and his current reelection bid for the US Senate.

It’s an unusually massive donation for Ellison, who additionally donated $5,200 to Graham’s Majority Fund in January. The timing of the bigger donation can also be outstanding, coming mere hours after Oracle officially announced that it had been chosen as TikTok’s expertise associate for its US operations, beating out Microsoft in a high-profile bidding course of to save the favored video app.

Oracle’s association with TikTok was applauded by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, however drew criticism from China hawks in both parties, who noticed it as failing to handle the long-standing considerations over ties between TikTok’s dad or mum firm ByteDance and the Chinese authorities. At the identical time, the association was a potential windfall for Oracle, which was set to obtain a major contract from the embattled app.

Sen. Graham was reportedly pivotal in arranging the deal, though it’s unclear if he had any affect over the particular firms concerned. In an interview with Vanity Fair in August, Graham mentioned that he personally referred to as Trump to counsel that he discover a US firm to buy the platform in order to treatment the administration’s considerations over the app’s relationship with China. “Let Microsoft or somebody buy it, put it in American hands and allow the platform to survive and thrive because so many people enjoy it,” Sen. Graham mentioned he informed Trump over the summer season.

“If TikTok is saved, you can thank me,” he mentioned.

Graham continued to cheer on the deal because it proceeded. On the day the settlement was introduced, the senator tweeted, “Great decision by President Trump to approve the sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart. Great for American consumers who are being protected from the Chinese Communist Party.” He continued, “Well done, Mr. President.”

The deal stalled in the days following the donation, failing to shut earlier than the deadline imposed by the president. When that deadline arrived, the Commerce Department tried to block transactions to TikTok’s parent company, solely to be halted by a preliminary injunction as half of the continued federal case towards the order.

Graham is at the moment locked in a good race for reelection to the US Senate for South Carolina towards Democratic opponent Jaime Harrison. On Thursday, Politico reported that the three-term senator has a slender lead towards Harrison amongst possible voters, 46 % to 40 %. Still, Harrison raised $57 million in the third quarter of this yr, dwarfing Graham’s $28 million.

Graham’s marketing campaign didn’t reply to a request for remark from The Verge Friday night.

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