U.S. NEWS

Washington State Rep. Matt Shea Engaged In Domestic Terrorism, Report Says

The GOP state representative helped plot Ammon Bundy's 2016 takeover of a rural wildlife refuge.

Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican, participated in domestic terrorism against the United States in multiple incidents, including the deadly 2016 armed standoff with militia leader Ammon Bundy in Oregon, according to a report commissioned by the state House.

Shea, elected in 2008, spoke with Bundy about plans and preparations to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was the site of a 41-day occupation staged in part over a disagreement in federal land management practices. One of the anti-government protesters was killed by police during the incident. 

Washington state Rep. J.T. Wilcox, the Republican minority leader of the state House, took punitive action to nudge Shea into stepping down. 

“Rep. Matt Shea has been suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus,” Wilcox wrote on Twitter.

“He should resign. He cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, his office will be moved.”

But Shea is refusing. In a Facebook post, he drew parallels between himself and President Donald Trump, who was impeached for abusing his presidential power this week. 

“Like we are seeing with our President this is a sham investigation meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country,” Shea wrote. “I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign. Stand strong fellow Patriots.” 

The report, which is more than 100 pages, found that Shea is an active member of the Patriot Movement, a loose network of militias that carry out training exercises in preparation for anticipated conflicts with government. The movement kicked off in 1990 when then-President George H.W. Bush called for “a new world order” in a speech, which right-wing conspiracy theorists interpreted as meaning that a secret plan for a single world government was in the works, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Washington representative also tipped off the Malheur protestors to law enforcement’s planned responses, giving them an upper hand, according to the report.

Additionally, Shea “planned, engaged in and promoted” two other armed conflicts against the U.S. government between 2014 and 2016, the report said. 

In 2014, he publicly supported rancher — and father of Ammon — Cliven Bundy’s standoff with government authorities in Nevada, encouraging others to join the protest online.

“At the time Shea published his call to arms, there were approximately 100 local protesters on site. Less than 24 hours after his call to arms, approximately 1,500 armed militia members were on site,” the report said. 

Shea also engaged in a 2015 conflict in Bonner County, Idaho, according to the report. 

“The inquiry into Rep. Matt Shea’s conduct displays an obsession with conspiracy theories and violence that is incompatible with public office,” Lindsay Schubiner, program director at the progressive advocacy group Western States Center, said in a statement. 

“Shea has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit for public office, but today’s explosive revelations seal the deal,” she continued, calling for his resignation.