Uber, Lyft’s ballot measure campaign gets nonprofit status for mailers, opponents cry foul


Angela Lang/CNET

Opponents of Proposition 22, a ballot measure sponsored by Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies in California, have filed a complaint with the United States Postal Service against the campaign for using nonprofit status to send out political mailers. They say the Yes on Proposition 22 campaign has saved $1.5 million by using the nonprofit postage rate for mailings, rather than using the normal bulk rate.

A spokesman for the Yes campaign said it’s been granted nonprofit status by the IRS and that it’s common practice for campaign committees working on ballot measures to form themselves as nonprofits.

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“Yes on 22 is eligible for the appropriate nonprofit postage rates with the USPS, which we applied for and were granted by the US Postmaster,” a Yes campaign spokesman said in an email. “The USPS has a long-term policy in place of allowing the ballot measure committee of a duly authorized nonprofit to mail under the nonprofit’s authorization.”

The complaint comes during a heated battle over Proposition 22, which is sponsored by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates and aims to exempt the companies from classifying their workers as employees as mandated by California law. The five companies have contributed nearly $200 million to the ballot measure campaign, making it the most expensive in California history.

Deep dive: Inside Uber and Lyft’s fight over gig worker status

Opponents to the ballot measure say that with such large sums of money being spent, the gig economy companies shouldn’t be getting a discount on USPS postage. 

“It’s outrageous but not surprising that the app companies that are going to the mat to keep shortchanging workers would shamelessly rip off the postal service,” Mike Roth, campaign spokesperson for the No on Prop 22 campaign, said in a statement. “This is just more evidence of the kind of greed we are dealing with from these companies.”

Uber, Lyft and Postmates didn’t return requests for comment. DoorDash and Instacart referred CNET to the Yes on Proposition 22 campaign.

This is a developing story…



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