Silicon Valley billionaire Larry Ellison, the executive chairman and chief technology officer of Oracle, donated $1 million on March 21 to the recently-formed SuperPAC supporting TN-5 carpetbagger candidate Morgan Ortagus, according to Federal Election Commission records obtained by The Tennessee Star on Friday.
That SuperPAC, the Tennessee Conservatives PAC, has already begun running a $100,000 radio ad buy in the district in support of Ortagus.
Ellison is listed as the sole donation in the Tennessee Conservative PAC’s April 2022 first quarterly finance report. His donation history includes donations to Republican U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, and Marco Rubio and other Republican candidates and committees.
Ellison’s donation history also includes contributions to Democrat candidates and committees. U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), California Governor Gavin Newsom, former U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), U.S. House member and Trump impeachment manager Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s PAC, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee, and the Democrat National Committee are among the Democrats candidates and groups that Ellison has donated to.
The Tennessee Star asked Ellison’s office at Oracle via phone and email for comment about the donation. Specifically, The Star asked:
Could you please comment on your one million dollar donation to the Tennessee Conservatives PAC, a super PAC based in Massachusetts that is supporting former State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus for the TN 5th Congressional District race?
Was your donation solicited and if yes, by whom?
If the donation was completely your idea, was the SuperPAC set up as a vehicle for the donation?
Were you aware of reports that the Tennessee Conservatives PAC is connected with a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee because of then-pending three-year residency requirement legislation that Ortagus failed to meet the standard of?
What do you consider to be the purpose of your one million dollar donation?
Are you aware that Ortagus registered to vote in Tennessee in the late fall and only moved into the TN-5 district within the last two months?
Are you aware of the fact that in accordance with TN Republican Party bylaws that Ortagus’ ballot status has been challenged, she has been removed from the ballot by the TNGOP, and she may possibly remain off the ballot if the TNGOP doesn’t vote to restore her status by noon on April 21?
Why did you donate one million dollars to a SuperPAC in support of Morgan Ortagus, a candidate with zero ties to Middle Tennessee or the 5th Congressional District?
As of press time, Ellison had not responded to The Star’s inquiry. The Star reached out to the Ortagus campaign as well, with no response given at this time.
Earlier on Friday, Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News and MSNBC tweeted:
Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle, gave $1 million to the pro- @MorganOrtagus super PAC, Tennessee Conservatives PAC.
This is the PAC that says it will mount a legal challenge if a TN bill is signed to keep Ortagus off the ballot.
The Star previously reported that Charles Gantt of Bulldog Compliance is the treasurer of Tennessee Conservatives PAC. Bulldog Compliance is owned by Red Curve Solutions, a company that handles the books of many dark money groups. Gantt’s address as PAC treasurer is listed by the FEC as a Beverly, Massachusetts office building, and the PAC’s main mailing address is a Nashville P.O. box.
Red Curve Solutions handles the books for a variety of dark money clients and PACs, as well as regular PACs. Red Curve Solutions handles Maverick PAC. The company has handled Maverick PAC’s books since at least 2014 and Ortagus was employed by Maverick PAC during the 2016 election cycle, the same time period that the PAC supported Jeb Bush in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries. It was during that time of employment with Maverick PAC that Ortagus made comments referring to President Trump’s behavior as “disgusting” and said the president “isn’t serious.”
Bradley Crate, the founder of Red Curve Solutions, is listed as the treasurer for Maverick PAC and previously served as deputy chief financial officer of the Romney for President campaign.
The Star also previously reported that three Morgan Ortagus supporters preemptively filed a federal lawsuit challenging the General Assembly-passed legislation, now law, that institutes a three-year residency requirement for federal candidates in primaries.
One of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit is Charles R. Spies of Dickinson Wright PLLC, a former Romney staffer who was on the host committee for the Ortagus campaign’s D.C. fundraiser that was highlighted by Washington insiders, Never Trumpers, and known RINOs. Spies’ wife, Lisa, is a prominent Never Trumper and was the professional fundraiser for the event.
It is unclear what Ellison’s interest is in the TN-5 race, but California-based Oracle has several business interests in Tennessee. In 2021, Oracle was reported to receive $100 million in state benefits for its tech campus on the Cumberland River.
Read the FEC report:
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