In Democratic and Never Trump circles, consternation has been growing about the Department of Defense under President Trump deciding to award a $10 billion contract to Microsoft Inc. purportedly in order to hurt Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing giant led by frequent Trump antagonist and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos.
So the theory goes, Trump has been exerting pressure on those making big contracting decisions to help his political allies or at least hurt his political enemies, and Amazon wound up getting hammered as part of this process.
Now comes a report from Geek Wire yesterday that Oracle was acting as Microsoft’s “secret ally” in aiding the company in landing the $10 billion JEDI contract, and “Microsoft and Oracle… began working together in April 2018 to help persuade the Defense Department not to award JEDI to Amazon.”
This was not surprising news to those tracking the JEDI award fight, since it was already known that Oracle will get a slice of the business awarded to Microsoft by the Department of Defense.
However, it continues to shine a spotlight on Oracle – arguably the “Trumpiest” big business in America – being the key Washington player that seems to have struck a major blow to Amazon, probably to Trump’s significant pleasure, and Microsoft and its own financial benefit. This, in turn, is prompting some fresh spotlighting of Oracle’s own record and what critics are calling its “two-faced, self-serving, fake loyalty” to Trump and Republicans – which is what gets us to the title of this post and the true point of it.
As evidence of Oracle’s “Trumpiness,” critics point to a bunch of things including:
Oracle CEO Safra Catz having served on Trump’s transition team, being considered for U.S. Trade Representative or Director of National Intelligence under Trump, and otherwise palling around with him (for example over dinners that have been heavily covered by the media).
Oracle chief lobbying guy Ken Glueck having been a staffer to former Sen. Joe Lieberman who in the era of Trump has gone all Trumpy, re-registered as a Republican, and having allegedly authored an anti-Amazon dossier that made its way to the White House and got on Trump’s radar just before the $10 billion JEDI contract was awarded to Microsoft and not Amazon.
Oracle having reportedly funded a group that spent significant time and energy trying to “cancel” prominent Never Trumper and now-on-leave Tech Freedom expert Berin Szoka, who had emerged as a major thorn in Trump’s side, particularly in the first quarter of this year (for context read this tweet thread and this).
But while Oracle has been doing all of this “Trumpy” stuff and currying favor with the administration, guess what else it has been doing? The company’s employees have been donating overwhelmingly to hard-left Democrats and even the Oracle PAC has invested about as heavily in Senate and House Democratic campaign committees as in Republican ones.
That seems unlikely to get a thumbs-up from Trump or his loyalists in Congress and elsewhere.
According to Open Secrets, the top two individual candidates benefiting from donations from Oracle employees this cycle are Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialist-lite Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Sanders banked $73,896 from Oracle employees, while Warren banked $61,760.
Of course, because neither candidate accepted PAC donations, campaign finance records show no Oracle PAC money entering their coffers.
But the obvious preference on the part of Oracle employees for Sanders and Warren begs the question of whether they would have received Oracle PAC money if they’d accepted PAC money at all.
Oracle’s biggest donation was to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), to which a total of $105,620 has flowed thus far this cycle.
But Sanders came in at number two in the Oracle donations stakes, raking in more than the $70,015 the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) got in total from Oracle employees and the company PAC.
The PAC donations are especially interesting because for as “Republican” and “Trumpy” as Oracle supposedly is, the corporate PAC has been giving almost equally to both parties.
Open Secrets shows $18,750 going from Oracle’s PAC to the NRCC, and the same again to the NRSC. But it also shows $15,000 going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and a further $15,000 going to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
In addition, $7,500 in Oracle PAC money has gone to Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who has been blasting the Department of Justice’s defense of churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, and angering the White House by calling for an inspector general probe into the Department’s dropping of a criminal case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
By contrast, a mere $2,500 in PAC money has gone to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Oracle’s PAC has given exactly $0 to the Trump re-election campaign, according to Open Secrets’ records.
Here is Open Secrets’ data on Oracle donations as of today:
So, how pro-Trump is Oracle really – or are they just another Big Tech company trying to make nice with whoever occupies the White House while hedging their bets and currying favor with Trump’s biggest opponents at the same time?
Likely, the answer is they’re playing the game just like every other big company in America. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of behavior that doesn’t tend to endear itself to Trump, and the company’s still too-Trump-friendly image will probably hurt it if Democrats make gains in 2020.
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