Gig Economy

Lyft And Uber Fund Efforts To Oust CA Lawmaker

Lyft, Uber Pay Big Money To Defeat AB5 Supporter

Lyft and Uber are fighting back against a California legislator who voted for AB5, a law that could potentially classify drivers as full-time employees and would have serious implications for the companies, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Lyft has put $2 million in an account to defeat Orange County Assemblyman Tyler Diep, the only Republican who voted for the law. Uber has shelled out $200,000 to a PAC that opposed Diep.

Diep will face a contested primary tomorrow (March 3).

Lyft’s committee is called Californians for Independent Work, and the ride-hailing company is responsible for all of the group’s funding. The committee has spent about $328,000 so far on things like mailers, digital ads and polling. They were responsible for one political mailer that said Diep’s support of AB5 was “a mockery of his campaign pledge to roll back regulations and promote jobs.”

Diep’s campaign has spent about $458,649, while his opponent in the primary, Janet Nguyen, has spent $277,777. The amount getting the most attention, however, is the $2 million spent by Lyft.

“Throwing down seven figures just shows the rest of the community that they take this seriously and that they could do more,” said John Thomas, a GOP political consultant. He said that the “$2 million is probably just the tip of the iceberg.”

Diep’s opponent Nguyen said that AB5 was “one of the worst and most devastating anti-business and anti-jobs laws that has come out of Sacramento.” Her campaign said that Lyft has helped to even the playing field in the election.

“We’re very grateful for their support,” said Dave Gilliard, the campaign spokesperson.

AB5 has put the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Californians at risk,” said Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin. “It is a broken law, and we are giving a louder voice to those who want to protect their ability to do independent work.”

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