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Oracle Employees Plan Walkout To Protest Ellison's Trump Fundraiser

Oracle's founder, executive chairman and CTO will hold a lavish fundraiser for President Trump's re-election campaign today at a golf course in the Southern California desert. A group of employees calling itself Employees for Ethics says the boss is violating the company's ethical principles by supporting the administration, and is encouraging workers to log-out and donate time to efforts resisting Trump policies.

Some Oracle employees are planning to walk off the job Thursday in protest of the lavish fundraiser Oracle Executive Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison will hold today to raise money for the re-election of President Donald Trump.

The group that’s taken the name Employees for Ethics is trying to counter its boss’ support for an administration with policies it sees as antithetical to Oracle’s Code of Conduct and Ethics.

“We are Oracle employees disappointed that Oracle Founder and CTO Larry Ellison’s support of and planned fundraiser for Donald Trump does not affirm Oracle’s core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct,” the group wrote in its website.

Ellison will welcome donors today to his estate in Rancho Mirage, an affluent desert retreat in Southern California’s Coachella Valley. They can pay either $100,000 to hit the links and take a photo with the president, or $250,000 to also participate in a roundtable with him after the outing. The money raised will go to a fundraising committee jointly benefitting the Trump campaign and other Republican groups called “Trump Victory”—helping fund Trump’s re-election efforts, the Republican National Committee, state Republican efforts and the party’s national convention.

[Related: Larry Ellison's 15 Boldest Statements At Oracle OpenWorld]

“This bold, public display harms our brand, as both a service provider and as a global employer,” the employee group said.

Oracle declined to comment.

Employees for Ethics has proposed a No Ethics/No Work walkout the day after the desert fundraiser. It is encouraging all Oracle employees to log out at noon and, instead of working, volunteer or donate to efforts that resist Trump administration policies.

Their effort is gaining traction online—its message spreading under the hashtag #EmployeesForEthics.

More than 6,000 people, at the time of this publication, have also signed a petition on change.org expressing disappointment in Ellison’s decision to financially support Trump’s re-election bid.

“We ask leadership to join us in standing up against Ellison’s damaging association with the Trump campaign and calling for Larry Ellison to cancel the fundraising event he plans to host at his Coachella Valley California estate,” the petition reads.

The Trump administration doesn’t reflect Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle’s stated ethics of diversity and inclusion, environmental responsibility, gender equity, opposition to sexual harassment, and integrity and honesty, according to the disaffected Oracle workers.

While Ellison has been among California’s most active political donors in recent years, and he has leaned toward Republic candidates for the most part, he has never before financially supported President Trump’s political career.

In 2014, Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at his Woodside, Calif. mansion. Two years later, he was a major donor to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, eventually pouring $5 million into a failed presidential campaign through a super PAC.

His embrace of the sitting president breaks with the zeitgeist of Silicon Valley, where big-tech moguls have kept Trump at arms-length, even as they have engaged with the administration on issues critical to their industry.

But the 72-year-old Oracle founder, with a fortune of nearly $70 billion that makes him the fifth-richest person alive, has never been one to shy from going against the grain in Silicon Valley.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz has been one of the few high-profile leaders of a major technology company seemingly on very good terms with Trump.

Catz was a member of Trump’s transition team—a position that provoked an Oracle managed cloud services executive to publicly resign from the company after citing his opposition to Trump policies, cabinet picks and rhetoric. She was even reportedly under consideration for Secretary of the Treasury.

But it was an intimate dinner Catz had with Trump in April of 2018, in the thick of the Oracle-AWS legal battle over a massive military contract for cloud computing services, that piqued particular interest—especially at Amazon headquarters.

At that meeting, Catz directly raised the potentially $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure initiative to Trump, who had already made several extremely critical statements about Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Catz criticized the process leading up the Pentagon selecting a commercial cloud vendor, telling the president it looked designed for an AWS win.

Those aware of the conversation said Trump listened to Catz but did not in any way pledge to interfere in the JEDI procurement process.

Microsoft ultimately won the JEDI award, and AWS is now challenging that decision in court as one corrupted by Trump’s political interference in the source-selection process.

Whatever other ties that bind them, Ellison certainly shares Trump’s feelings of antipathy for the e-commerce giant. Like Trump, the Oracle chairman frequently mocks Amazon at his speaking events—his enmity sparked by AWS dominating the public cloud infrastructure market that Oracle desperately wants to penetrate.

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