House releases report on Matt Shea

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

State Representative Matt Shea

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION: House Republicans expel Shea from caucus, but supporters of state rep question investigation’s credibility…

The results of a four-month WA House of Representatives investigation on Spokane Valley Republican State Rep and 51st state champion Matt Shea was released last week to the public, once again putting him in the limelight. Supporters of Shea said that the investigation, which accused him of participating in domestic terrorism, was a partisan witch hunt by a Democrat-controlled legislature.

Shea himself made a Facebook post drawing comparisons to the impeachment of President Trump.

“In our country if someone wants to accuse you of a crime, they must prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Shea wrote. “The author of the report (who is a political donor to Seattle’s Mayor) rejects this standard and instead resorts to innuendo and smear to argue that when viewed ‘holistically’ some threat exists. This is subjective opinion of a paid operative who does not share my political views.”

The report by the Rampart Group, asserted that Shea helped plan the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon three years ago and was involved in two other standoffs. While the results of the report have been presented to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office. As a result of the report’s release, House Republican leads have expelled Shea from their caucus and removed him from committee positions.

“Rep. Matt Shea has been suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus,” Washington House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox said. “He should resign. He cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, his office will be moved.”

The 108-page report made strong claims, including Shea participating in preplanning phone calls with Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy before the 2016 armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Bundy was aquitted of any charges stemming from the standoff, but seven of the people involved in the incident received prison time. One of them, Robert LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed. It happened during an attempt to arrest him after he reached toward a handgun concealed in his pocket.

Shea has previously told the the legislature’s ethics board that he merely visited the wildlife refuge on a fact-finding mission airmed at ending the standoff. The report also details Shea’s involvement in an armed standoff in Nevada in 2014, and one in Priest River in 2015. According to the report, Shea gathered supporters to block federal officials from seizing firearms from an elderly veteran. Supporters of Shea have posted video and statements online saying that it was hardly a dangerous standoff and was to support the veteran.

“First, the county sheriff physically stood with us in Idaho,” Shea wrote on Facebook. “Second, some individuals cited in the report were acquitted of all charges by a jury of their peers in Oregon. Third, a US District Court Judge dismissed with prejudice all charges against participants in Nevada who were (unlike me) actually charged with crimes. This was after I helped expose a Lead BLM investigator’s memorandum detailing, according to the Easton Spectator, ‘far-reaching misconduct, recklessness, corruption and unrestrained persecutory behavior toward the Bundy family.’ In the dismissal, the judge further criticized prosecutors for willful violations of defendants’ due process rights, as well as a failure to properly turn over evidence to their lawyers. Eventually the special agent in charge was fired. Justice was done precisely because elected officials were involved.”

Shea was also linked to Christian conservative culture website Redoubt News and it’s story “Democrat Report Smearing Conservatives is Finally Released” which also compared Shea to US President Donald Trump being impeached. That article claims a large part of the report’s sourcing was Wikipedia and says that is not a reliable source. It added that the report uses a number of far left news sites.

No longer a member of the Republican Caucus, Shea will have to find a new office, and will not get support from Republican caucus staff. Spokane County Commissioner
Mary Kuney said that since he has been stripped of his caucus connections he can no longer effectively represent his constituents and called him a “fringe Republican.”
U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers said last week that she supported Shea’s removal from the state House Republican Causcus, the Spokesman-Review is reporting.

“I believe Rep. Wilcox is doing the right thing for the Republican caucus,” McMorris Rodgers was quoted by the Spokesman-Review as saying. “I have repeatedly condemned extremism, no matter its source, and have made clear the violence it inspires has no place here in Eastern Washington.”

Shea said he would make a big announcement early during Christmas week.

“I want to thank everyone who has strengthened us through your tremendous outpouring of support,” Shea wrote on Facebook. “I will not back down. I will continue to fight for our shared values that have made this country such a blessing to the rest of the world.”