A Washington representative who has visited St. Maries for public events has been accused of domestic terrorism.
Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley elected in 2008, was said to have aided planning and preparation of several armed conflicts with the federal government. He has been suspended from the House’s Republican caucus and relieved of house committee assignments.
“Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washinton over a three-year period,” a 108-page investigative report released by the Washington State House of Representatives concluded.
Rep. Shea has been a guest at the Benewah County Republicans’ Jefferson-Madison banquet in 2019, and has featured at events in Benewah County several times in the past. During the 2019 event, he spoke against liberal influence in Washington and advocated for the secession and creation of a new state in eastern Washington.
In the report, the Washington House’s investigators found that Rep. Shea worked with militia leader Ammon Bundy in November 2015 in the lead-up to an armed standoff with federal law enforcement at the Malheur Refuge. The report claims the representative participated in several phone calls with Bundy in early 2016, as well as covertly drafted military-style plans for affiliated militias under an assumed name after the standoff began. He also reportedly gathered intelligence on law enforcement plans to pass to protesters.
The Malheur standoff ended with the death of one protester, who was shot and killed by law enforcement while attempting to flee. Several dozen other protesters were arrested.
Rep. She also allegedly played roles in two other armed conflicts. In 2014, he issued a call to arms through his blog for militias to rally around rancher Cliven Bundy in a standoff with federal officers in Nevada. He also traveled to Priest River in 2015 in order to advocate for a veteran who had been made unable to purchase a firearm after suffering a stroke. Rep. Shea again posted a “call to arms” online, drawing roughly 100 armed protestors to the area.
Last year, the representative also acknowledged being the author of “Biblical Basis for War,” a four-page document setting guidelines for a “holy war” in the United States. The plans reportedly advocated for armed conflict, and for militias to “kill all males” who might resist such efforts. Rep. Shea has said the document has been taken out of context.
Washington state lawmakers –Republicans and Democrats – have called for Rep. Shea to resign. Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County has also called for criminal charges against him.
“I believe there’s enough to charge Shea with domestic terrorism, if not treason,” Sheriff Knezovich said in a television interview.
Rep. Shea, in a statement to media, has said that he will not step down, and denounced the investigation as a “sham.”