On September 14th, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison donated a quarter of a million US dollars to a campaign fund called “Security is Strength”. The date has a striking reference to the TikTok crisis: the day before, Microsoft failed with its takeover bid for TikTok. TikTok concentrated only on the cooperation with Oracle and Walmart. The fund uses its money exclusively to support the election campaign of Republican Senator Lindsay Graham.
According to Graham, he is responsible for the fact that US President Donald Trump has not (yet) banned TikTok completely, but is considering a takeover of TikTok by US investors as an alternative to a ban: “If TikTok is saved, thank me “said the Senator in August of the magazine Vanity Fair tells. He, Graham, called Trump and suggested that Americans take over TikTok, since a ban on the app would be very unpopular.
Whether Ellison’s effort will pay off is open as the TikTok deal is up in the air. A few days after the donation, Trump initially blessed the TikTok deal with Oracle and Walmart. The two companies should acquire a minority stake in TikTok, and the Oracle cloud should host TikToks services. To clarify “details”, the TikTok ban was postponed by a week.
The week went by without formal approval from the US Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS), chaired by the US Treasury Secretary. So the ban should come into force after all.
A US federal district court prevented that. Because the president is not allowed to do exactly what he was trying to do: block an information and communication service. Nevertheless, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continues to demand that TikTok either go American or close.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese ByteDance group. At the beginning of August, the President prohibited US Americans from doing business with TikTok with reference to national security (Executive Order 13492). The US president fears that TikTok could be forced under Chinese law to transfer data from US citizens to the Chinese government due to its Chinese owner.
Ellison’s donation is publicly documented. The fund to which Ellison donated is known as a “Super PAC”, officially an “independent political action committee”. The “actions” of Super PACs expressly exhaust themselves in the denial of expenses. Often, Super PACs only support very specific politicians, but are legally independent of their respective election campaigns. In this way, limits on donations to individual politicians can be legally circumvented.
Ellison’s political commitment is not new. He has excelled several times as a fundraiser for Donald Trump. Loud The Verge the quarter of a million dollars is an unusually high donation even for billionaire Ellison. Before that, he had only given $ 5,200 to another Graham campaign fund.