Oct 27, 2015 · 1 minute

Yesterday I published a mass email sent by Ron Conway, in which the angel investor asked portfolio CEOs to tell their employees how to vote in SF’s upcoming municipal election.  

The email was fascinating but still left plenty of unanswered questions, not least because Conway didn’t explain why he wanted his tens of thousands of portfolio employees to vote a particular way. Also unclear was whether Conway appreciated the implications of a wealthy investor attempting to sway a city ballot using his network of investments.

Then, late yesterday afternoon, I received a response from Alex Tourk, previously a staffer for ex-mayor Gavin Newsom, and now Conway’s “political advisor”.

Tourk told me:

Ron is exercising his constitutional right - even responsibility - to participate in the political process of his hometown and have opinions about candidates and issues on the ballot. It’s no different from any other CEO or union or high profile individual making endorsements.

Indeed it isn’t. As I wrote yesterday, Mitt Romney pulled exactly the same stunt in the previous presidential election when he encouraged CEOs to push their employees to vote for him. Still, even Romney didn’t try to hide his naked politicking by claiming that the Constitution compelled him to act.

But Tourk didn’t stop there.  Conway’s original email urged techies to vote for Mayor Ed Lee in all three “ranked-choice” slots on the ballot paper. As several others have pointed out, that’s not how ranked-choice works. Does that mean SF tech’s most enthusiastic political player doesn’t even understand the rules of the game?

Pffffttt, says Tourk….

Ron understands that ranked-choice voting does not allow for multiple votes for the same candidate, though his enthusiasm for some candidates seems to have been interpreted otherwise. The fact is a lot of people in the tech community look to Ron for recommendations and he is glad to share them and encourage others to share them as well.

So there you have it. A clear statement from Team Ron, and one I’m happy to reiterate here:

When it comes to using his status as an investor to influence San Francisco politics, Ron Conway knows exactly what he is doing.