According to a new report, former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a vehement critic of former President Donald J. Trump has provided $150,000 in seed money for a new election-centered nonprofit based in Arizona.
That group is called the Public Integrity Foundation, and Flake’s six-figure donation came from his U.S. Senate campaign committee, which remains open despite the fact that he is not currently running for office.
Tyler Montague is the chairman of the newly founded Public Integrity Foundation, and a friend of Flake’s.
“Jeff Flake is a long time friend, and he’s also interested in one of the charter purposes of the foundation, which is to do research and education around alternative forms of voting,” Montague told Axios.
The group will be studying ranked-choice voting, and though Montague says it was not founded specifically to combat battles over election integrity like the one playing out right now in Arizona, he believes what the voters want is not adequately represented by our current system of voting.
“It’s definitely a sign that there is a disconnect between the agenda of who we are electing and what the general public believes/wants,” he said, taking a subtle swipe at Trump.
Both Flake and Montague are known as Republicans who fought against Trump’s agenda.
Montague also heads the Public Integrity Alliance, another group focused on voting issues. That group sued Maricopa County last year over ballot instructions, claiming that the instructions violated the law.
But that organization, along with Montague, are embroiled in legal trouble for allegedly breaking election law themselves.
“On February 3, Phoenix City Clerk Denise Archibald advised interested parties that ‘a reasonable cause determination has been made against Tyler Montague, associated with the Public Integrity Alliance,’ and a complaint against the political operative is being referred for further action,” The Arizona Daily Independent reported.
Montague stands accused of illegally making and distributing campaign signs that attacked then-mayor of the town of Gilbert, Matt Nielsen, in favor of his opponent, who later won the race.
His alleged violation of election law stems from failing to identify which organization paid for the signs he used to attack Nielsen.
A.R.S. 16-925 says “Advertising and fund-raising disclosure statements: The statute requires the words ‘paid for by’, followed by the name of the person making the expenditure for the advertisement or fund-raising solicitation.”
The Arizona Sun Times reached out to a phone number associated with Montague and left a voicemail, but did not hear back.
The Sun Times also asked Flake for comment, but that comment request was not returned.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jeff Flake” by Senator Jeff Flake. Photo “Tyler Montague” by Public Integrity Alliance. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Wars. CC BY-SA 3.0.