Democrats and some Republicans have called for state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, to resign in the wake of a December report involving anti-government activities. Shea has refused to resign. He issued a statement saying he will be in the chamber when the state House convenes its 2020 session on Monday.
"'I look forward to continuing to represent the people of my district,'' Shea wrote. ‘’I do so with a renewed sense of the importance of our Constitution’s protections for the powerless against the vindictiveness of the powerful.''
The report commissioned by the state House was released in December and concluded that Shea helped plan, engaged in and promoted three armed conflicts against the U.S. government in Nevada, Idaho and Oregon in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
In particular, Shea's work to organize and urge supporters to attend the 2016 standoff with authorities at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon was branded domestic terrorism by the report by the Rampart Group, a Seattle-based private investigation agency.
The report prompted House Republicans to immediately expel Shea from their caucus. House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said Thursday at a legislative forum sponsored by The Associated Press that Shea ‘’is not a House Republican.''
But Wilcox believes it is up to the voters of Shea's Spokane Valley district to kick him out of the Legislature. “Matt Shea should resign,”' incoming House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said Thursday at the forum. "'And if he does not resign he should be expelled.''
Jinkins said Democrats alone cannot expel Shea and would need the votes of at least some Republicans to reach a two-thirds majority. Nine Republicans would need to vote for expulsion. “I don't know how this is going to end up,'' Jinkins said.
Shea on Friday attacked the 108-page report, which he had refused to be interviewed for. "'I have been falsely accused of being a “domestic terrorist” by a private investigator who never spoke to the principals involved in the incidents she described and relied instead on anonymous sources,'' Shea wrote.
"'This is a lie,'' Shea wrote. Shea also said he has not been contacted by the FBI or the U.S. Attorney's Office, despite Jinkins saying she had forwarded the report to those agencies. Shea said Jinkins should respect the role of federal law enforcement to make charging decisions.
The report also found that Shea in the past had condoned intimidating opponents and promoted militia training by the Patriot Movement for possible armed conflict with law enforcement.
This version corrects that nine Republican votes, not 10, would be needed to expel Shea.