We are currently locked into a huge battle with Uber. David versus Goliath. Underpaid Uber drivers against a company worth $66 billion dollars. Despite its huge size, Uber wants to be even bigger and more powerful. With that in mind, it has been spending millions of dollars lobbying state legislatures nationwide to get laws changed and make it harder to sue the company.
We have two class action cases pending against Uber, one in Wisconsin and one in Indiana. And in both states, when Uber thought it might be in trouble, it simply went to the legislature and changed the law. Now future drivers in these states are classified by law as independent contractors. We don’t necessarily agree those laws are enforceable but Uber has certainly has a track record of trying to stack the deck in its favor. The average consumer or worker, however, cannot afford lobbyists.
Today the New York Post reported that Uber spent $752,974 on lobbyists in the Empire State and that was just for the first six months of 2016. The hospitals in New York spent $1.5 million for the same six month period. And the NY State Nurses Association? $2.3 million.
The president elect talks about “draining the swamp”. Whether you identify as a Republican or Democrat, tens of millions of Americans were sympathetic to the idea of draining the swamp. Everyone probably has their own definition of “swamp” but we say it represents lobbyists, the Chamber, and the revolving door between the regulated and the regulators. The average Joe certainly has an uphill battle when up against companies worth billions of dollars.
Lobbyists and the companies that back them can almost always outspend homeowners, workers and consumers. In most states, lobbyists have to report how much money they raised and often how they spent it. Want to know if your legislator received money from a lobbyist? That information is today probably just a few short mouse clicks away.
While we are wary of lobbyists in general, the “swamp” that worries us most is the one in which backroom deals and kickbacks are the norm. Often these arrangements are highly illegal yet happen every day.
There are many threats to our democracy today. Big business and super powerful lobby groups are perhaps some of the most dangerous. These include the U.S. Chamber, PhRMA (the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and one of the biggest of them all, the banking lobby. According to opensecrets.org, our friendly bankers spent $44.3 million this year and the year isn’t over! (Embattled Wells Fargo spent the most of all banks at $3.5 million.)
Unfortunately, big business can afford big lobbyists. There are few people to stand up and speak out on behalf of homeowners, customers and whistleblowers, however.
The best way to stand up to corporate America is through class action lawsuits and letter writing campaigns to elected officials. While its true many politicians carry the water for big business, those same politicians place getting re-elected by voters over helping out their cronies. If enough people speak up, most politicians will listen.
America’s whistleblower laws are another powerful tool but their use is primarily limited to banking, residential mortgage lending, government contract fraud and Medicare fraud.
MahanyLaw is proud to have whistleblower clients in over 30 states. We can’t fix every wrong, we can’t drain the swamp but in the right case we can make the swamp too dangerous for those who put greed and power over the needs of the community.
Interested in doing your part to drain the swamp? Have information about bank fraud or fraud involving government programs or funds? Call us. In the last five years our clients have received over $100 million in whistleblower awards. All inquiries are protected by the attorney-client privilege and kept confidential.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by phone at (414) 704-6731 (direct).
MahanyLaw – American Whistleblower and FIRREA Fraud Lawyer