Far-Right WA Lawmaker Participated In Domestic Terrorism, Report Finds

Washington State Representative Matthew Shea
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December 20, 2019 3:56 p.m.
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A far-right legislator in Washington state says he’ll stay in his legislative job despite a new report that accuses him of domestic terrorism.

The damning 100-page report was commissioned by the state’s House of Representatives, and asserts that state Rep. Matt Shea was involved in an act of domestic terrorism during the 41-day standoff between law enforcement and armed allies of the Bundy family at a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

“Representative Shea participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States by his actions before and during the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge,” the report, written by the private firm Rampart Group, states.

Shea, the report found, “participated in at least four planning meetings with co-conspirators in advance of the takeover” and “developed and circulated military-style Operations Orders that laid out detailed plans to supply and support the armed siege.”

The report found that Shea subsequently misled legislative investigators about his involvement, stating that he went to Oregon as part of a fact finding trip, and, if needed, in order to mediate between occupiers and law enforcement.

That explanation clashed with the actual reason he’d attended the Malheur occupation and the previous Bundy family standoff in Nevada, the report found. Shea traveled to both, it said, “specifically to support armed insurrections at both locations in furtherance of his Patriot Movement agenda.”

Soon after the Malheur occupation, a post on Shea’s Facebook page read, “After much prayer I’m afraid violence might be necessary to take our country.”

Shea is well known for his affiliations with extreme right-wing groups and militias that train in anticipation of armed conflict with federal and local authorities. Some in the movement, including Shea, talk of establishing their own territory, a 51st state called “Liberty” or an independent area consisting of multiple states in the Northwest known as the “American Redoubt.”

After the report dropped Thursday, House Republican leaders kicked Shea out of their caucus and stripped him of committee assignments. Party leaders also called for him to resign, but Shea called the investigation a “sham” — one he did not cooperate with — and said in a Facebook post Thursday that he would not resign.

Republican Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox told the Spokane Spokesman-Review that it would be premature to talk about expelling Shea, who’s now in his sixth term, from the legislature.

Much of the report covers ground long ago tilled by local reporters in the Northwest, including Shea’s affiliations with militias and extremist groups and his participation in armed stand-offs.

The report examines, for example, Shea’s promotion of a group that provides young men with “biblical training on war,” and a document he wrote called “Biblical Basis for War,” which calls for “killing all males” who do not adhere to a theocratic style of Christian government.

Shea has protested that the document consisted merely of sermon notes, but the Rampart Group report said it appeared that characterization was “untruthful.”

The report also noted previous reports that Shea told a group chat that he had performed background checks on antifascist activists, and another incident in 2011 in which Shea, during a fit of road rage, flashed a gun at another driver. (Shea was ultimately ticketed for being armed despite an expired concealed carry permit.)

However, the bulk of the report focused on three armed stand-offs in which Shea was involved — the original Bundy family standoff in Bunkerville, NV, the Malheur occupation, and another incident at Priest River, Idaho.

Shea was a key organizer in these events, the report found, posting calls for militia affiliates and other right-wing groups to join the stand-offs and providing logistical support himself.

At Malheur, Shea used his position in state government to the fullest. At one point, along with a handful of other legislators from various states who were members of a right-wing group he had founded, Shea met with a local judge near the wildlife refuge.

“During the meeting the Representatives gathered intelligence regarding law enforcement strategies and operations then traveled directly from that same meeting to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and met with Ammon Bundy and other armed occupiers,” the report found, “despite warnings of extreme danger and against the will of law enforcement and other Oregon state elected officials.”

Read the report below:

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