Flake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report

Flake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report
© Greg Nash

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.) has donated unused campaign funds to a nonprofit organization that will examine different election practices in Arizona.

According to an FEC filing, Flake transferred $150,000 from the Jeff Flake for US Senate, Inc. account to the Public Integrity Foundation late last month.

The contribution was made days after the group was established, according to a report from Axios published on Wednesday

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Tyler Montague, the chairman of the Public Integrity Foundation, told Axios that the organization initiated discussions with Flake about him supporting their mission.

His contribution, according to Montague, is the largest donation the group has received so far.

“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.

Montague said the organization will examine different elections practices, including ranked-choice voting and approval voting.

He said the group is not “limiting ourselves to any one particular method.”

The chairman also said the organization is looking into practices like those in place in Alaska, which used a top-four primary and a ranked-choice general election last year.

He said ranked-choice voting “has a lot of merits even though NYC botched their first election with it.”

Montague, a Republican who like Flake has been critical of former President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE, is also in charge at the Public Integrity Alliance, an advocacy group based in Arizona that filed a lawsuit against Maricopa County last year because of ballot instructions that were allegedly illicit, according to Axios.

President BidenJoe BidenGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Sanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE in July nominated Flake to serve as ambassador to Turkey. He is still awaiting confirmation.

Flake was a vocal critic of Trump throughout his time in public office. He took a shot at the then-president and the state of the GOP in his speech announcing his retirement in 2017, in which he told his colleagues “It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets ... has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party.”

“It's also clear to me for the moment that we have given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment,” he added.

The establishment of the Public Integrity Foundation comes as Arizona continues to be ground zero for election issues.

The Republican-backed audit of the 2020 presidential election in Arizona officially wrapped up last month, confirming Biden’s victory in the state but noting that he won by a wider margin than the final certified results had shown.

Montague said that while the election controversy in Arizona was not the momentum for launching the new group, the organization can help bring attention to some of those issues.

“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,” Montague said.

“Which is one of the key arguments made by people who advocate for something like RCV over our current election methods,” he added.

The Hill reached out to Flake for more information on his contribution.