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Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

Representing the 5th District of MISSOURI

Congressman Cleaver Urges Uber & Tech Industry to Address Diversity in Leadership

Jun 26, 2017
Press Release
Congressman Cleaver joined other CBC Leaders in call to change

(Washington D.C.) - Today, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II joined the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) led by Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Representatives G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), in sending a letter to Uber, calling on the ride-share service company and other technology companies to prioritize diversity when filling senior leadership positions.

“When the Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force launched CBC TECH 2020 in May 2015, we cautioned leaders in the tech community that its lack of African American inclusion was bad for business and for the country,” the Members wrote. 

“It seems that Uber, and many of its peers in the industry, have not prioritized the urgent need for a diverse and inclusive workforce,” they continued.

Reps. Cleaver, Butterfield, and Lee are members of the CBC Diversity Task Force, which previously sent a letter to the CEOs of Uber and Lyft, outlining concerns following a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research that documented evidence of discrimination against African American customers attempting to use ride-share services as a means of transportation. Full text of the letter sent today can be found here.

In addition to ensuring equality for minorities, Congressman Cleaver recently initiated an investigation into small business FinTech lending companies.

In recent years, the small business lending market has seen a number of new entrants primarily operating online. Without proper supervision and oversight, Congressman Cleaver believes certain FinTech companies may be taking advantage of or discriminating against hardworking individuals from communities of color.

“FinTech companies geared toward lending to small businesses by using certain biased algorithms for creditworthiness have the potential of charging disproportionately higher rates to minority-owned businesses,” said Congressman Cleaver.

In a letter from Congressman Cleaver to the Chief Executive Officers of several rapidly emerging FinTech small business lenders, the executives were asked to share information about their company products, fees, and methods when it comes to disclosures and potentially discriminatory practices. The letters, which are highlighted by the title of company, were sent to Lending Club, Biz2Credit, Fora Financial, Prosper, and Lend Up. Companies are expected to respond by August 10, 2017.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.

 For more information, please contact Heather Frierson at 816-842-4545 or Heather.Frierson@mail.house.gov.