Report: Rep Matt Shea presents ‘present and growing threat’ through political violence
OLYMPIA, Wash — A report on Spokane Valley lawmaker Rep Matt Shea says the state representative poses a “present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”
That conclusion comes in a 108-page report released online Thursday and shared by Crosscut.com.
The Rampart Group was asked by the Washington State House of Representatives to look into Shea and accusations he was engaging in political violence.
Rampart Group was looking into whether Shea engaged in, planned or promoted political violence. Investigators were also asked to assess the level of threat posed by Shea and any associated groups.
According to the report, the group interviewed 34 people, tracked news reporting, analyzed documents and researched “over 46 gigabytes of data totaling over 120,000 electronic communications.”
Shea declined to be interviewed for the investigation.
The report cites several incidents involving Shea, beginning with standoff at Bunkerville, Nevada in 2014. According to the report, “Rep Shea dispatched local militia Liberty For All III%” and its Washington leader to assess the need for armed militia to stand against the government there in support of rancher Cliven Bundy. The report says Shea pleaded for militia movements nationwide to join their efforts, which led to 1,500 militia members turning out.
Shea also traveled there and publicly supported the effort.
The report says that Shea met with other elected officials from several states and “developed a strategy for leadership over future Patriot Movement armed resistance against the federal government by creating the Coalition of Western States.”
The report says Shea was heard at a Spokane restaurant several months later, discussing militias, weapons, stockpiling of ammunitions, the Bundy Ranch, Special Forces and snipers.”
In an incident in 2015, the report talks about Shea’s visit to Priest River, Idaho, where he “engaged in an armed conflict with the U.S. Government Veteran’s Administration in resistance to the planned lawful removal of firearms from a military veteran” who had been added to a database for people determined by healthcare officials as someone who should not be able to buy guns.
Shea posted an “urgent action alert” to his Facebook page and called for others to join him.
The report says Shea said of the gun seizures, “We are telling the Federal Government they are going to have to come through us to get to this veteran.”
Investigators also detail Shea’s role in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016.
In that incident, Shea again called for militias to act against the government to support two people who were convicted of crimes.
In that case, the report says Shea “created a detailed military-styled operation plan entitled Operation Cold Reality” and used encrypted email to disseminate information.
Shea traveled to Oregon, where he referred to the Bureau of Land Management as “terrorists.”
The report says that sometime after the standoff there ended, Shea posted to his Facebook page, “After much prayer, I’m afraid violence might be necessary to take our country back.”
The investigators list eight findings related to Shea.
1. Shea participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States by his actions before during and after the armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
2. Shea engaged in intimidation tactics against a political opponent (Amy Biviano), posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page while standing in front of the opponent’s residence and refused to take it down, even when asked by the party, Biviano and law enforcement.
3. Shea engaged in a secure online chat condoning violence and intimidation and offered to do background checks on people opposed to his political ideology.
4. Shea condoned intimidation by supporters of his political opposition to include activists, government officials, Muslims and others who speak out against him
5. Shea engaged in counterintelligence gathering and acted in opposition to the lawful efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.
6. Shea engaged in and supported the training of youth and young adults to fight a Holy war.
7. Shea wrote the Biblical Basis for War and advocated the replacement of U.S. democracy with a theocracy and killing of all males who don’t agree.
8. Shea engaged in and promoted annual Patriot Movement militia training and readiness exercises in support of anticipated armed conflicts against state and local governments and law enforcement.
Investigators say “Representative Shea and the Patriot Movement rely on the radicalization of individuals to the point they are willing to take up arms against the United States to carry out their objectives.”
It goes on to say that Shea and his associates have also been known to use what they call “red phones” when engaged in a conflict. “Red phones are understood to be pre-paid telephones that are untraceable,” it says.
The investigation ends with an assessment that “Shea has since 2014 presented a significant threat of political violence against employees of the Federal Government and state and local law enforcement officers, carried out through intermediaries sympathetic to the Patriot Movement.”
It then says, “With angry armed insurgents called into action against elements of law enforcement, every situation instigated or planned by Rep. Shea carried with it significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life.”
The report says Shea’s actions benefited him politically and “served to draw more angry sympathizers into the movement and thus achieved more political power for Rep. Shea.”
Finally, the report says “Rep. Shea’s activities appear to meet the definition of political violence and when viewed holistically, these activities appear to have been successful for Rep. Shea.” The investigation says that, because he has suffered no repercussions, he’s unlikely to stop.
“Based on evidence obtained in this investigation, it is more probable than not that Rep. Shea is likely to plan, direct, and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life.”
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