A senior executive from one of the country’s leading tech companies donated $ 250,000 to a Super Political Action Committee (PAC) that supported Senator Lindsey Graham’s re-election campaign when his company closed a coveted deal with TikTok’s US technology partner.
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Security is Strength PAC, which pays for ads that support Graham in his re-election, The Verge reported.
The donation, which was described as unusually large for Ellison, came on September 14 – just hours before Oracle announced it was selected as the cloud technology provider by Beijing-based social media platform TikTok.
Oracle fought off competition from Microsoft and a number of other high profile bidders 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 company Parent company, Byte Dance.
The Ellison deal was welcomed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin but also criticized by lawmakers on both sides of the political gang. Those who think differently said the deal still hasn’t addressed concerns about ByteDance’s ties with the Chinese government.
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, donated a quarter of a million dollars to the Security is Strength PAC, which pays for ads that support Graham in his re-election, The Verge reported
The above image shows a receipt for Ellison’s donation, which is displayed on the Federal Election Commission website
Graham was reportedly instrumental in securing the deal, although The Verge says it is unclear whether he had any influence on the companies involved.
In August, Graham announced to Vanity Fair that he had called Trump personally to propose that he find a U.S. firm to buy the platform in an attempt to address White House concerns about ByteDance’s relationship with Beijing.
“Let Microsoft or someone buy it, put it in American hands and let the platform survive and thrive, because so many people enjoy it,” the Senator told Trump in the summer.
“If TikTok is saved, thank me,” he added.
The deal was also a potential godsend for Oracle, which will receive a lucrative contract from TikTok to use its services.
As part of the deal, parent company ByteDance will continue to own 80 percent of the app. Since ByteDance is 40 percent owned by US investors, the new TikTok Global will be technically majority owned by the US
The agreement was made with Walmart. The two companies have combined to form TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in Texas and potentially create 25,000 new jobs.
Oracle announced that it has been selected as TikTok’s secure cloud provider and will become a minority investor with a 12.5 percent stake.
Walmart said it tentatively agreed to buy 7.5 percent of TikTok, and its CEO Doug McMillon would serve as one of the five board members of the newly formed company.
The parent company ByteDance will meanwhile own the remaining 80 percent of the app. Since ByteDance is 40 percent owned by US investors, the new TikTok Global will technically be majority owned by the US.
TikTok Global said it would push for more American property with a public offering of shares next year.
Oracle’s contract with TikTok was signed with Walmart. The two companies have combined to form TikTok Global, which will be headquartered in Texas and potentially create 25,000 new jobs
The deal has yet to be signed by Beijing. Chinese authorities have announced that they will not allow ByteDance to sell the algorithms used by TikTok, which are believed to be a major part of the app’s value.
But Graham continued to fire the deal as it progressed, writing on Twitter the day the deal was announced: ‘Great decision by President Trump to approve the sale of TikTok to Oracle and Walmart.
‘Great for American consumers protected from the Chinese Communist Party. Well done, Mr. President, ”he said.
Graham is currently in the final stages of a brutal fundraising battle against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, who raised the most money in the history of a Senate campaign.
On Thursday, Politico reported that the three-time senator has a narrow lead over Harrison, 46 to 40 percent, among the likely voters.
However, Harrison raised $ 57 million in the third quarter of this year, dwarfing Graham’s $ 28 million.
“My opponent is going to raise $ 100 million in the state of South Carolina,” Graham said in September. “Most of the money that has ever been spent on a Senate race in this state in the history of the state, I spent in 2014 when I spent $ 13 million.”