Oracle’s Larry Ellison joined November 2020 appeal to challenge Trump’s loss

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Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of software company Oracle and the biggest supporter of Elon Musk’s attempted takeover of Twitter, took part in a call shortly after the 2020 election focused on strategies for challenge to the legitimacy of the vote, according to court documents and a participant.

The Nov. 14 call included Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (RS.C.); Fox News host Sean Hannity; Jay Sekulow, attorney for President Donald Trump; and James Bopp Jr., an attorney for True the Vote, a Texas-based nonprofit that has promoted disputed allegations of widespread voter fraud.

Ellison’s participation illustrates a previously unknown dimension in the multi-faceted campaign to challenge Trump’s loss, an effort that is still in focus more than 18 months later. This is the first known example of a tech industry titan joining powerful figures in conservative politics, media and law to strategize on Trump’s post-loss options and speak with a panel. of activists who had already filed four lawsuits seeking to uncover evidence of illegal voting.

Oracle representatives did not respond to emails, calls and text messages seeking comment.

Ellison is the 11th richest person in the world, with a net worth of around $85 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has become a major political broker under the Trump administration, hosting the president in 2020 for a fundraiser at his Coachella Valley estate in California and contributing millions to Republican candidates and committees, including Graham, according to the documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Under the Trump administration, in 2020, Oracle partnered with the Department of Health and Social Services to collect data from doctors treating coronavirus infections with hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug touted by the president, among other drugs. That fall, it received praise from Trump as a ‘great company’ as it became TikTok’s favorite US buyer, in a potential deal with Chinese company ByteDance that fell through. .

Details of the November 2020 appeal and questions about Ellison’s role in it have been revealed in new documents filed in litigation brought against True the Vote and its representatives by Fair Fight, a political action committee associated with the voting rights organization founded by Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey. Abrams.

“Jim was on the phone tonight with Jay Sekulow, Lindsey O. Graham, Sean Hannity and Larry Ellison,” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht wrote to a donor the night of the call, referring to Bopp, its organization. lawyer. “He explained the work we were doing and they asked for a preliminary report as soon as possible, to use to rally their troops internally, so that’s what I’m working on now.”

Ellison’s participation in the call was confirmed by a participant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private matters. This person said that Ellison, as chief technology officer, may have been enlisted to assess claims about voting machines made by Sidney Powell, a former member of Trump’s legal team. And the person said the GOP megadonor was likely put on hold by Graham, amid a discussion about whether the Trump campaign had assembled an effective legal team.

When asked why the senator would have asked the tech mogul to participate, Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop said, “Probably because Ellison was supporting Trump,” but did not answer questions. follow-up on Ellison’s contribution and did not say directly whether Graham had invited Ellison.

Bopp, in an interview, said he didn’t remember all of the attendees, but remembered being asked to join the conversation by Sekulow. He had a different memory of the purpose of the call than the other participant.

“The question that I think was being discussed was whether the congressional hearings on how the 2020 election was going would be beneficial to whatever people were doing,” he said, making reference to efforts to uncover evidence that could cause a “change in the election”. results,” as he put it, a pursuit that has involved many different groups. “And my opinion was yes.”

Sekulow said his involvement in election-related litigation was limited, largely ending after he helped file a Supreme Court petition seeking to separate mail-in ballots that arrived in Pennsylvania after Election Day from those who had come before. Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. granted the motion on Nov. 6. A Fox spokeswoman declined to comment.

It is unclear from court documents whether Ellison participated in subsequent appeals. But her participation intrigued Fred Eshelman, True the Vote’s top donor who received the email from Englebrecht describing the appeal. In an email to Engelbrecht two days later, he requested more information about Ellison’s involvement.

“Why was he on call with Senator Graham?” Is it part of a data/analytics solution, is it a potential major donor, other? Eshelman wrote in a Nov. 16 email to Engelbrecht and Bopp ahead of a scheduled call between them.

An associate of Eshelman said he never got a response. The lack of clarity inflamed tensions between Eshelman and True the Vote.

True the Vote’s lawsuit sought expedited discovery of polling lists and other information the group says could prove enough illegal votes were cast to warrant blocking certification of results in many states. But the litigation failed to get immediate traction in the courts, Bopp said, and the nonprofit withdrew the complaints Nov. 16.

The complaints were among dozens of unsuccessful post-election lawsuits filed by Trump or his allies. Eshelman became disillusioned with True the Vote’s efforts and demanded the return of his $2.5 million donation – suing the nonprofit in federal court, then in Texas state court , where the case was dismissed and is now pending appeal.

True the Vote has significantly raised its profile in recent weeks by collaborating with conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza on a film that alleges there was widespread “ballot harvesting” in the 2020 election. “2000 Mules,” was screened at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club last month and has become the focal point of ongoing efforts to deny the legitimacy of the election.

Several of those claims were dismissed this week by the Georgia State Elections Board, casting doubt on the film’s premise.

Ellison does not appear to have made any public comments on the results of the 2020 vote.

But Oracle has contributed huge sums to conservative causes, including up to $499,000 in 2019 to the Federalist Society and up to $499,000 in 2021 to the Internet Accountability Project, a nonprofit that accuses big tech companies of anti-conservative bias, according to the companies. disclosures.

Ellison has personally invested significantly in Republican candidates and causes. He hosted Trump for a fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign the same day the administration sided with Oracle in a copyright dispute with Google that was unfolding in the Supreme Court. Ellison backed Graham’s re-election in 2018 to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. And this year, he donated $15 million to a super PAC aligned with Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.), among the largest individual contributions this cycle.

This month, Ellison pledged $1 billion to back Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That makes him the biggest endorser of the offer, which has been cheered by Trump allies due to comments Musk and his associates made about easing rules on content moderation and possibly returning Trump. the former president on the platform.

Ellison stepped down as CEO of Oracle in 2014, but remains chairman of its board and chief technology officer. He is also its first individual shareholder. Ellison joined the board of Tesla, Musk’s electric car company, in 2018, revealing he had bought 3 million shares earlier that year, earning him 12 million shares additional in a 2020 stock split. He owns nearly all of the Hawaiian island. of Lanai.

“I’ve always been very ambitious; I’ve always been very curious,” Ellison said in a 2018 interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, describing how he dropped out of college and moved to Silicon Valley to work as a computer programmer, founding Oracle in 1977.

He also praised American democracy.

“We live in a democracy,” he said. “If I don’t like our government, I can vote for someone else. We have the choice.


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