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Lyft puts $2 million into ballot initiative committee

I wrote a few weeks ago over at The Washington Observer about the somewhat mysterious Washington Coalition for Independent Work, a ballot measure committee formed by Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and Instacart.

It’s still not clear what, if any, ballot measure this committee plans to pursue, but the companies are putting up some serious money and spending freely on lobbyists and other consultants. Lyft is in deepest; the company put in $2 million in December. The other three companies have pledged, but apparently not actually coughed up, about $200,000 apiece.

The companies are wary of further local regulation of their businesses in Seattle and elsewhere. Should talks go south with the city in the coming weeks, they’ll be looking for more favorable treatment from the Legislature. Failing that, they could go to voters to pre-empt state and local lawmakers. The same companies did that in California in 2020, spending a record $220 million to roll back a state law that defined their drivers as employees instead of contractors. A similar measure is headed for the ballot in Massachusetts. 

The committee’s filing with the Public Disclosure Commission shows about $200,000 of spending in December. The biggest line item is for Seattle-based law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, which is likely getting paid to craft legislation and/or ballot language. 

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