New York congressional candidate and Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly castigated ride-sharing giant Uber and blamed its "unregulated expansion" after a yellow cab driver commited suicide, but her campaign has taken nearly $4,000 worth of Uber rides between April and late June.
Ocasio-Cortez, who became a household name after defeating Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D., N.Y.) back in June, has criticized Uber several times on Twitter as recently as March, in a post flagged by Fox News.
"NYC's fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum," she tweeted.
NYC's fourth driver suicide. Yellow cab drivers are in financial ruin due to the unregulated expansion of Uber. What was a living wage job now pays under minimum.
– to call Uber drivers what they are: EMPLOYEES, not contractors
– Fed jobs guarantee
– Prep for automation https://t.co/FjfapJV2ni
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 21, 2018
The yellow cab driver, Doug Schifter, killed himself with a shotgun amid financial difficulties in response to multiple cheaper alternatives to the yellow taxi, as addressed in his Facebook status.
Ocasio-Cortez's campaign staff recorded spending nearly $4,000 on 160 Uber rides between April and late June, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. The Uber payments ranged from just 59 cents to $82.26 and were filed under "car service," according to Fox.
In her home state of New York, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign doesn’t use the traditional yellow cabs for getting around either.
The FEC records show that the campaign spent nearly $2,500 for more than 90 rides with the so-called ride-sharing startup company Juno that pitched itself as an alternative to Uber for drivers as it offered slightly better pay and an option to accumulate the company’s stock. There’s no data yet for any rides taken by the Ocasio-Cortez campaign in July and August.
But the "driver-friendly" startup is barely any better for drivers than other ride-sharing companies. It was sold in April to Israel-based Gett for $200 million and immediately came under fire for scrapping the stock unit program for its drivers.
This prompted a class action by Juno drivers. "Plaintiffs were victims of the classic ‘bait and switch’ scheme – promised equity and then paid off at pennies on the dollar when all other shareholders/investors made out handsomely," the suit reads.