OLYMPIA, Wash. - An independent investigation into the activities of Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea has found evidence of domestic terrorism, intimidation and counterintelligence.
The investigation was ordered by Washington State House of Representative leaders to determine if Shea pursued, or condoned, political violence, and looked into how Shea used fear, radicalization and force to gain political power.
The report identifies three main conflicts and eight findings related to Shea. Those conflicts include a 2014 standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, a standoff in Priest River, Idaho in 2015 and the Malheur Wildlife takeover in 2016.
According to the report, Shea was not a passive observer of those militia standoffs with government officials as he claimed to be while speaking to House Ethics investigators.
Instead, Shea participated as an active member in the standoffs, helping to plan and execute the incidents.
During the Priest River standoff and the Malheur Wildlife Standoff, the report reveals Shea used secretive websites and encrypted emails to distribute what were essentially marching orders to hundreds of armed militia members.
Shea reportedly planned in-person meet ups, including one at a Spokane area restaurant following the Bundy Standoff in 2014, where he called for the stockpiling of weapons and ammunition.
To read the full report, click the download link below.
Specific Report Findings
Finding #1: Rep. Shea participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States by his actions before and during the armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Finding #2: Rep. Shea engaged in intimidation tactics against a political opponent in September 2012. According to the report, Rep. Shea posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page standing in front of the opponents residence, and refused to remove the photo at the request of the opponent, party affiliates and law enforcement.
Finding #3: Rep. Shea engaged in secure online chats using the code name "Verumbellator" from October 29 through December 12, 2017. The chats included the identification of opposition political activists and condoned violence and intimidation. Rep. Shea offered to do background checks on named persons in opposition to his political ideology.
Finding #4: Rep. Shea condoned intimidation by supporters of those in opposition of his political ideology from 2014 through 2019. Those in opposition of his political ideology include activists, government officials, Muslims, and anyone who spoke out or act in opposition to his personal beliefs and political agenda.
Finding #5: Between 2014 and 2017, Rep. Shea engaged in counterintelligence gathering and acted in opposition to the lawful efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.
Finding #6: In 2016, Rep. Shea engaged in and supported the training of youth and young adults to fight a so-called "Holy war."
Finding #7: Rep. Shea authored a manifesto titled "The Biblical Basis for War," which advocated the replacement of the U.S. democracy with a theocracy and the killing of all males who do not agree.
Finding #8: Rep. Shea engaged in and promoted annual Patriot Movement militia training and readiness exercises in support of anticipated armed conflicts against federal, state and local governments.
In a statement made on his personal Facebook page, Shea called the independant investigation a "sham meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country."
Shea goes on to say that he will not resign and will instead stand tall with his fellow patriots. The statement echos the one he made early Thursday before the report was obtained by KHQ a day early. In the statement, Shea claims the independent investigation is infringing his right to 'due process."
The statement also thanks his supporters who have "strengthened me through their tremendous outpouring of support. 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."
To read Shea's original statement, you can click here.
Sheriff Knezovich's Response
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich spoke to KHQ moments after the report was obtained. In short, Sheriff Knezovich believes the report provides enough evidence to bring criminal charges against Rep. Shea.
Washington State House Minority Leader JT Wilcox tweeted that Rep. Shea has been suspended from the caucus and called on him to resign.
You can read a full statement by Wilcox by clicking here.
Washington State Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has issued a response to the report on Shea via an email to KHQ.
“I believe Rep. Wilcox is doing the right thing for the Republican caucus. I have repeatedly condemned extremism, no matter its source, and have made clear the violence it inspires has no place here in Eastern Washington.”
Spokane Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the third most ranking member of the Washington State House of Representatives and house majority whip, has called on Shea to resign.
In correspondence with KHQ, Riccelli said "I am very disturbed by the details of this report. I agree with Republican Minority Leader Rep. J.T. Wilcox. Rep. Matt Shea should resign."
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement on his Twitter page condemning Shea.
The statement reads, "There is no place in WA for hate or violence, especially from those who have been elected by the people.] This report is disturbing and these actions should be unacceptable to Washingtonians of all political parties."
Political Opponent's Response
Spokane Valley resident Lori Feagan, who is running to unseat Shea, issued a statement late Thursday night.
In an email addressed to KHQ Feagan said,
"The report is incredibly disturbing. Voters in Eastern Washington now know that our State Representative has "participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States" and that "Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.
"We must put our community's safety and our future over party loyalty. I'm grateful to Republican leadership for acknowledging that Matt Shea's extremism is unacceptable and unwelcome. Now that his true character has been more fully revealed, I have confidence that our voters, both Republican and Democrat, will send the same message next year. Once we know better, we must do better."