Biden fund gets big donation from son of Republican megadonor Larry Ellison


David Ellison, CEO of Skydance Media attends the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton on January 07, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. 

Kevin Winter | The Hollywood Reporter | Getty Images

David Ellison, the son of Republican megadonor Larry Ellison, gave $929,600 to back the reelection efforts of President Joe Biden, putting him among the top recent donors to the incumbent Democrat.

David Ellison’s donation is the largest recorded contribution that the Skydance Media CEO ever made to a federal candidate, according to Federal Election Commission records.

His contribution in February to the Biden Victory Fund is tied with other large contributors in the first quarter of 2024.

Others who gave the same amount as David Ellison in that quarter include the attorney George Conway, who is a leading critic of former President Donald Trump, and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.

David Ellison’s donation comes as his father, Larry Ellison, the chairman of Oracle, has kept his wallet firmly shut this election cycle.

Larry Ellison, who historically has been a major Republican donor, has not made a single federal political donation so far in 2024, records show. Ellison donated more than $31 million to GOP candidates during the 2022 congressional midterms, according to data from OpenSecrets.

Charles Myers, the former vice chairman at investment bank Evercore and a Biden campaign bundler, said the donation from David Ellison to support Biden is a “very big deal,” citing the donor’s family ties.

“It’s as impactful as if one of the Soros sons started writing huge checks to Trump,” Myers told CNBC, referring to Democratic megadonor George Soros.

Biden’s allies made a full-court press to recruit David Ellison, as the president’s political team tries to build a campaign war chest large enough to effectively battle the presumptive Republican nominee Trump in the presidential election.

The move to gain David Ellison’s support — and his big donation — was largely orchestrated by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, who was granted anonymity to discuss private matters.

Katzenberg is co-chair of Biden’s campaign, and his efforts to land David Ellison as a backer included arranging a meeting with Biden, the source said.

David Ellison, in December, attended a private roundtable discussion in Los Angeles featuring Biden and fewer than a dozen other attendees that included wealthy donors, the source said. That event was held at the home of Kurt Rappaport, a real estate investor and Biden donor.

Rappaport told CNBC that he invited a “small group of friends” to his home to attend the event and those in attendance were “not necessarily” all major Biden financiers, but declined to comment further.

Larry Ellison, founder and former CEO of Oracle Inc. watches a training race from a motor boat ahead of the America’s Cup World Series sailing competition on the Great Sound in Hamilton, Bermuda, October 16, 2015.

Mike Segar | Reuters

David Ellison made his donation to the Biden Victory Fund after the event at Rappaport’s home.

The Biden Victory Fund finances the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and dozens of state parties, according to Federal Election Commission records. Rappaport gave $929,600 to that fund last July, according to FEC records.

David Ellison’s donation helped the Biden Victory Fund raise more than $121 million in the first quarter of 2024. A similar entity supporting Trump called Trump Save America raised more than $65 million that quarter, FEC records show.

Biden is trailing Trump by a single percentage point in the latest New York Times and Siena College public opinion poll.

Larry Ellison supported Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., in his bid for president but did not contribute to his campaign. He is now reportedly trying to sell Scott to Trump’s team as the former president’s running mate.

While the Ellisons might be on different sides in the 2024 election, the two are working together on a major media deal.

David Ellison’s Skydance Media recently made an offer to acquire National Amusements and merge with Paramount Pictures. Larry Ellison, who has a reported net worth of more than $149 billion, is planning to help fund the proposed deal, according to a CNBC report, citing sources.

A spokesperson for David Ellison declined to comment. Katzenberg and the Biden campaign did not return requests for comment.

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