The president of the Public Integrity Alliance, Tyler Montague, is under investigation for alleged illegal campaign signs attacking Town of Gilbert mayoral candidate, Matt Nielsen, on behalf of mayor elect Brigette Peterson.
On November 18, the City of Phoenix notified parties that it is investigating the matter at the request of the Town of Gilbert due to a potential conflict of interest.
The investigation was sparked by report from an area resident on November 2, who claimed that Montague was seen placing multiple illegal political signs around the Gilbert area. The bright-yellow signs declared that Nielsen, would “Defund the Police!!,” and screamed other baseless accusations.
Montague is accused specifically of violating A.R.S. 16-925 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.”
Montague was previously forced to issue an apology for the lack of integrity in an attack ad campaign launched against former Attorney General Tom Horne in 2013. Since then, Montague has earned a reputation for “slinging mud,” and “working with Democrats to elect more liberal candidates,” like Peterson.
On Tuesday November 3, 2020, an investigation began into the accusations against Montague.
Witnesses provided pictures of the signs, descriptions of Montague, as well as a picture of the license plate on the vehicle being driven by the man.
Witness began seeing the signs a day or two prior to the first official report on November 2. One witness noticed that the signs did not have the required “paid by” when they went to fix them after they had been knocked down.
A witness described seeing “a man in a white Toyota Tundra with a John McCain bumper sticker on it begin to put additional yellow anti-Nielsen signs in the area. The man was described as a “very big guy” with a “large stomach and a scruffy face.” He was seen hammering in the yellow anti-Nielsen signs along the roadways.
Another resident had inquired about the signage and had contacted the Town of Gilbert code enforcement department. They were told that the signs were illegal and could be removed by residents or that staff would remove them, but could not that guarantee when that would happen.
One witness stated that they alone removed about 47 signs in total.
Montague was given until December 3, to respond to the complaint, according to the City of Phoenix records