Righter spokesman calls Chicago taxi lobby donation story 'innacurate'
A 2014-15 donation of $5,000 from a Chicago area taxi lobby to state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon), reported in East Central Reporter earlier this month, never happened, a spokesman for Righter said.
"Basically the crux of it is we'd like the story removed about 'Sen. Dale Righter took money from taxi cab lobby to help ban ride-sharing'", Righter spokesman Andrew Hanson said in a voice mail to the East Central Reporter. "It's inaccurate because the bill would have never banned ride-sharing."
Hanson claimed the East Central Reporter story was "completely unfair" and that it mischaracterized ride sharing legislation that Righter supported. He asked that the story be taken down.
The East Central Reporter's Nov. 17 brief, unattributed story identified Righter as one of 61 Springfield lawmakers to receive a share of $180,750 in donations from a Chicago taxi lobby in 2014 and 2015. Righter allegedly received $5,000, according to the story.
Other recipients listed in the story were state Reps. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) and Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), who in August 2014 backed legislation that would have restricted ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. The legislation was vetoed by then Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn.
"I think the whole crux of your story is eluding that Sen. Righter took this money to help the taxi company because it was going to ban their main competitor when the legislation, again, never banned their main competitor," Hanson continued in his voice mail. "Basically Sen. Righter voted for it because it would have provided a level playing field for both taxi companies and Uber/Lyft."
The legislation "wasn't going to ban anything," Hanson said as he retrieved from the internet a story about the legislation that ran at the time in the Chicago Tribune, possibly this one.
"Now I know Pat Quinn vetoed the bill that passed but basically they write the legislation would have established statewide regulations on ride-sharing services just like what taxis got through," Hanson said. "Again, we feel the story regarding Sen. Righter is completely unfair because it is eluding that he took this money and then took the money because he wanted to ban the taxi's competitor when that legislation never did that at all. The legislation was intended to make both Uber/Lyft and taxis in the same boat since they provide the exact same service. We are asking that story get taken down."