House Republicans say it’s on voters to decide Rep. Matt Shea’s fate in legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash.– Despite accusations of engaging in domestic terrorism, Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea won’t be expelled from the Washington State legislature.

House Republicans in Olympia are still supporting Shea, leaving it to voters to decide if Shea will keep his seat come November.

In December, an independent investigation accused Shea of being a present and growing threat to the public through political violence.

So, House Democrats wrote a letter which asked for Shea’s expulsion from the legislature. They needed a two-thirds majority for anything to happen, so all 57 democrats and at least nine republicans had to sign it.

Not a single Republican did.

READ: Effort to expel Rep. Matt Shea fails with no Republican support

So, 4 News Now took a trip to Olympia to ask Republicans why.

“I think it would be a violation of trust for us to say, ‘voters we don’t care what you’re going to do, we’re going to do it ourselves’, I want the voters to decide who is going to represent the fourth district,” House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said.

Democrats don’t agree with that, because the independent investigation accused Shea of intimidating political opponents and engaging in domestic terrorism.

“Right now, not taking a stand against political intimidation, calling for the death of diverse members and political opponents across the state, that’s not why I’m in the legislature,” Rep. Tana Senn of Mercer Island said.

Because of the investigation, Shea’s role in the house is pretty limited.

He can’t join the republicans when they debate strategy on bills or police. When each party goes into caucus chambers, Shea stays out on the floor by himself.

“His current status is he’s currently part of a caucus of one,” Wilcox said. “He’s not a house republican, but he’s still a member and can speak on the floor.”

Many other Republican representatives chose not to comment on why they didn’t sign the letter.

But, Kennewick Rep. Brad Klippert said he doesn’t need to read any reports to know what kind of person Shea is. He considers Shea to be a long-time friend.

More of the same came from Spokane Valley’s Bob McCaslin, who said he still supports Shea.

But, Democrats don’t think that’s right.

“We should be making change by laws and by actions taken here in the House of Representatives, so I am concerned that there will be continued intimidation and fear,” Senn said.

Senn said a couple weeks ago, about 200 militia members showed up at the Capitol, protesting Shea’s removal from the caucus.

When we asked here if there was any concern for her own safety, Senn said, “I have to say absolutely.”

We requested an interview with Shea in Olympia, but we were told he was not available. One representative even told us, Shea will probably never talk to the media again.

But, that wouldn’t be a huge change, because he never really has.