Bloomberg News reports:
Although Uber promotes itself as a great disrupter, it's quickly mastered the old art of political influence. Over the past year, Uber built one of the largest and most successful lobbying forces in the country, with a presence in almost every statehouse. It has 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in capitols around the nation, at least a third more than Wal-Mart Stores. That doesn't count municipal lobbyists. In Portland, the 28th-largest city in the U.S., 10 people would ultimately register to lobby on Uber's behalf.
...Uber hired a new team of local lobbyists headed by Dan Bates, who used to work as Portland's own lobbyist in the state capitol. Across the country, Uber's lobbyists have similarly intimate connections. In Kansas, it hired Governor Sam Brownback's former campaign manager and another lobbyist who also works for Koch Industries. In Connecticut, it contracted with a former House speaker's firm, and in Illinois it brought on the former governor's chief of staff.
Here's a revolutionary thought: in a free country, no one should have to hire 250 lobbyists, well connected or not, to get permission to operate a business.