A top executive at one of the nation’s leading tech companies donated $250,000 to a super Political Action Committee (PAC) supporting Senator Lindsey Graham’s re-election campaign, as his company closed in on a coveted deal to become TikTok’s US technology partner.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made the quarter of a million dollar donation to the Security is Strength PAC, which is paying for ads supporting Graham in his reelection bid, The Verge reported.
The donation, described as unusually large for Ellison, was made on September 14th – just hours before Oracle announced it had been selected by the Beijing-based social media platform TikTok to be its cloud technology provider.
Oracle staved off competition from the likes of Microsoft and a number of other high-profile bidders in order to save the popular app, after President Trump pledged to ban it in the US over data-sharing concerns unless it was sold by its China-based parent company, Byte Dance.
Ellison’s company’s deal was applauded by the likes of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, but also drew criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle. Dissenters said the arrangement still failed to address concerns over ByteDance’s ties to the Chinese government.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made the quarter of a million dollar donation to the Security is Strength PAC, which is paying for ads supporting Graham in his reelection bid, The Verge reported
The above image shows a receipt for Ellison’s donation, as displayed on the Federal Election Commission’s website
Graham was reportedly pivotal in helping secure the deal, though it’s unclear whether he had any influence over the specific companies involved, according to The Verge.
In August, Graham told Vanity Fair that he personally called Trump to suggest he find a US Company to purchase the platform in order to remedy the White House’s concerns over ByteDance’s ties to Beijing.
‘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,’ the Senator said he told Trump over the summer.
‘If TikTok is saved, you can thank me,’ he added.
The deal also came as a potential windfall for Oracle, which is set to receive a lucrative contract from TikTok to enlist their services.
As part of the deal, parent company ByteDance will still own the 80 percent of the app. But because ByteDance is 40 percent owned by US investors, the new TikTok Global will technically have a majority American ownership.
The arrangement was struck alongside Walmart, with the two companies coming together to form TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in Texas and could potentially bring in 25,000 new jobs.
Oracle announced it was chosen as TikTok’s secure cloud provider and will become a minority investor with a 12.5 percent stake.
Walmart said it has tentatively agreed to a purchase 7.5 percent stake in TikTok and its CEO Doug McMillon would serve as one of the five board members of the newly-created company.
The parent company ByteDance, meanwhile, will own the remaining 80 percent of the app. But because ByteDance is 40 percent owned by US investors, the new TikTok Global will technically have a majority American ownership.
TikTok Global said it will push for more American ownership with a public shares offering next year.
Oracle’s deal with TikTok was struck alongside Walmart, with the two companies coming together to form TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in Texas and could potentially bring in 25,000 new jobs
The deal still needs to be signed off by Beijing. Chinese authorities have said they would not allow ByteDance to sell the algorithms used by TikTok, which are believed to hold much of the value for the app.
But Graham continued to cheer on the deal as it proceeded, writing on Twitter on the day the agreement was announced: ‘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. Well done, Mr. President,’ he said.
Graham is currently embattled in the final stages of a brutal fundraising fight against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, who has raised the most money in the history of any Senate campaign.
On Thursday, Politico reported that the three-term senator has a slender lead against Harrison among likely voters, 46 percent to 40 percent.
However, Harrison raised $57 million in the third quarter of this year, dwarfing Graham’s $28 million, the outlet stated.
‘My opponent will raise $100 million in the state of South Carolina,’ Graham said in September. ‘The most money ever spent in the history of the state on a Senate race in this state was by me in 2014 when I spent $13 million.’