Oracle, the fifth largest tech company in the U.S., has voluntarily disclosed that it has joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), as noted in its 2022 Political Activity Report.
ALEC is a pay-to-play organization where state legislators and corporate lobbyists meet behind closed doors twice a year to write model legislation that advances a radical right-wing, pro-corporate, and pro-Republican agenda on everything from suppressing voter access and denying climate change to crushing unions and undermining public education.
Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and Cisco — the other largest tech companies in the U.S., according to Forbes — are not current ALEC members, although Microsoft, Alphabet’s company Google, and Meta’s Facebook were affiliated before dropping their memberships in 2014.
Still, many tech companies — including Google and Meta — remain associated with ALEC through their membership in the trade group NetChoice, which routinely sponsors ALEC meetings and is backing its 50th Anniversary Gala on October 4.
NetChoice CEO and President Steve DelBianco serves as the current national chair of ALEC’s Private Enterprise Advisory Council, which further demonstrates the growing connections between the tech industry and the right-wing organization.
Oracle reported paying ALEC a membership fee of between $10,000 and $24,999 in 2022, which is perhaps not surprising given the political preferences of its corporate leaders. Cofounder Larry Ellison, who now serves as chairman and chief technology officer, is among the top five richest Americans and the country’s largest political donor to the GOP.
During the 2022 midterm elections, Ellison gave more than $30 million to the Opportunity Matters Fund, a conservative independent expenditure campaign fund — or super PAC — he helped create to support Republican candidates. That made him the 11th largest contributor to the 2022 federal elections, according to the nonpartisan group OpenSecrets.
During that period, Ellison contributed $20 million through Opportunity Matters to Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), who is now a 2024 presidential candidate. The super PAC not only backed him, but spent millions to support other Republicans running for Senate seats in 2022, investing just under $2 million in Herschel Walker’s failed bid to win a GOP Senate seat in Georgia.
In May, Ellison announced his plan to spend up to $60 million in backing Scott’s presidential candidacy through his fund, which he has rebranded the Trust in the Mission PAC (or TIM PAC) with a single-candidate focus. According to the Federal Election Commission, TIM PAC has already spent over $12 million on behalf of Scott, largely on media buys.
Oracle Likely Likes ALEC’s Model Bills
As a corporation that makes its commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics public, Oracle claims to be aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2025, with net zero emissions by 2050, goals in line with other more progressive companies.
But Oracle has now hitched its wagon to an interest group that “has long carried Big Oil’s water, including taking at least $1.7 million from Exxon and its foundation as a ‘fund allocator’ in the American Petroleum Institute’s multimillion dollar plan to block the United Nations’ Kyoto protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” according to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD).
If taken at face value, Oracle’s public commitments to sustainability are also at odds with ALEC’s promotion of state model bills that prevent state pension funds from using ESG criteria in deciding on investments.
ALEC’s anti-ESG model bill bars companies with 10 or more employees from receiving state contracts if they take into account any “social, political, or ideological interests” to limit their commercial relations with fossil fuel, logging, mining, or agriculture businesses — and instructs legislatures to “insert additional industries if needed,” as CMD first reported.
ALEC promotes many other policies of interest to Oracle, such as its model legislation to lower corporate income tax rates, create flat taxes on individual income, erode environmental standards, and weaken the power of unions.
In addition, Oracle has paid more than $100 million to private parties since 2000 as a result of class action claims and other civil lawsuits. ALEC promotes model bills that limit the authority of juries, make it harder to bring class action lawsuits, reduce the size of judgments, and shorten the length of time for filing a civil lawsuit.
For its membership contribution of $25,000 or less, Oracle has now bought a place at the table when ALEC’s model bills are rewritten and promoted, or when decisions are made on which states will work to pass them.