When aides supporting Tim Scott filed reams of paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last week, the name Larry Ellison came up only once—on March 23, attached to a $2,566.13 in-kind contribution for “lodging.” The legally-required disclosure, which suggests that Ellison merely offered Scott or his staff a crash pad, surprised insiders close to Scott’s presidential campaign. Ellison, after all, has long been Scott’s most opulent benefactor, fueling his super PAC with an astounding $35 million over the past three years in anticipation of this very moment. But in the first half of the year, according to F.E.C. documents, the world’s fifth richest person gave $0 to his preferred candidate—an apparent snub from the billionaire Scott hailed at his presidential kick-off as “one of my mentors.”
Ellison’s conspicuous absence during this reporting period wasn’t an accident. It was, I’ve learned, part of an intentional strategy. Ellison has already decided to make a massive donation to Scott’s super PAC, which should be wired soon if it hasn’t landed in his account already. The commitment, described to me as a planned eight-figure contribution, would be at minimum the second largest contribution in the Republican presidential primary thus far. If the gift eclipses the $20 million given by Robert Bigelow to boost Ron DeSantis, it would be the single biggest check of the entire 2024 race.