The U.S. Capitol building stands before sunrise in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

This Tech Investor Wants to Turn His Father’s GOP House Seat Blue

(Bloomberg) -- Families divided by politics is a now-familiar story. But the Goodlattes are heightening the drama with a Silicon Valley spin. On Twitter on Sunday, tech investor and early Facebook Inc. designer Bobby Goodlatte threw his support to the Democrat running for his Republican father’s congressional seat.

“Let’s flip the 6th”, he wrote on Twitter, referring to the 6th congressional district of Virginia -- a district his father, Representative Bob Goodlatte, has represented for 25 years and had planned to vacate this election.

The younger Goodlatte said in a tweet that he donated the maximum amount allowed to Democrat Jennifer Lewis’s congressional campaign and encouraged his followers to do the same. Goodlatte’s follower-count on the platform grew from 26,000 to more than 35,000 on Monday.

Goodlatte, who worked at Facebook a decade ago, went on to co-found OpenVote, a platform to pledge and share votes, in 2015. He’s backed more than two dozen companies as an investor, including cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Inc. and Blue Bottle Coffee Inc.

Goodlatte is part of a growing group in Silicon Valley that is flexing its newfound wealth and power to make political change. Investors Bilal Zuberi of Lux Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Mamoon Hamid have both been outspoken critics of Washington policies. Angel investor Chris Sacca, Homebrew Management partner Hunter Walk and startup founder Charlie Cheever are supporting Goodlatte’s effort to flip the sixth district, according to their tweets.

Neither Goodlatte immediately responded to a request for comment.

On Twitter, Bobby Goodlatte criticized his father’s “political grandstanding,” and said he was "deeply embarrassed" about the role his father played in firing longtime FBI agent Peter Strzok for Strzok’s anti-Trump texts.

“That committee hearing was a low point for Congress,” he wrote.

Bob Goodlatte, 65, also serves as the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He announced last year he wouldn’t seek re-election in order to spend more time with his family, particularly his granddaughters.

As he’s been serving out his last term, Goodlatte has drawn Democrats’ outrage by refusing to use his chairman’s gavel to look deeper into Russian election meddling, but instead using it to scrutinize and criticize the actions of Justice Department and FBI officials, like Strzok, during the early stages of that probe.

Goodlatte last year defended his focus. He explained that several other congressional committees were already looking into the election meddling, but said that it’s his role as Judiciary chairman to lead congressional oversight of the FBI and Justice Department. As a result, he has focused more on potential bias and official missteps surrounding the 2016 presidential election, including looking into why the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use was dropped.

The Goodlattes may have some bad blood between them, but the father and son agree on at least one thing: Cryptocurrency.

Bob Goodlatte owns from $17,000 to $80,000 in bitcoin, bitcoin cash and Ethereum, according to the congressman’s annual financial disclosures filed in May.

His son, who first backed Coinbase in 2013, sent a tweet last week announcing his dad’s holdings. He gave it a thumbs-up emoji.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.