OLYMPIA — The Washington House on Monday released hundreds of pages of documents used by outside investigators to write the report concluding state Rep. Matt Shea planned and participated in domestic terrorism against the United States.
Their release came at the request of House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, to help lawmakers evaluate the report’s explosive allegations and decide whether to expel Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley, from the Legislature.
The House-commissioned report released last month concluded Shea planned and participated in domestic terrorism through his involvement in three standoffs against the government. It has been forwarded to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The 108-page report alleged that, beginning in November 2015, Shea worked with militia leader Ammon Bundy and helped “in the planning and preparation” of the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by dozens of armed protesters. The six-week standoff came to an end after a protester was fatally shot by law enforcement and dozens more were arrested.
The documents released Tuesday range from group chats that purportedly include Shea, such as a 51-page record of chats where some of the other participants discussed confronting family members and landlords of political opponents.
The documents include Shea’s explanation in 2016 to the Legislative Ethics Board about his involvement at Malheur and at an earlier standoff in Nevada. Shea had said that he traveled to the two sites “in an investigatory capacity.”
Also included is an email purportedly sent by Shea on Jan. 4, 2016, amid the standoff at Malheur.
“This is a military style planning brief,” the email states. “Please use this as a standard form in the future. We are receiving intel right now that arrest warrants are signed and an FBI strike team is preparing to dramatically escalate. We are waiting till tomorrow morning to evaluate the situation and make the call up.”
An email purportedly written by Shea the following day states that the “Feds will likely start with small things escalating to a full blown violent retaking of the refuge.”
Further down that email, Shea advises the recipients to “Stay calm and continue working the plan in case we need to deploy.”
Shea, who did not sit for an interview with investigators from the Rampart Group, has said the report’s findings and allegations are false and the product of a “Marxist smear campaign.” In a speech this month at a gun-rights rally, he said the government was failing to investigate America’s “real enemies,” referring to anti-fascist groups.
In a statement released Tuesday after the release of the documents, Shea referred to the investigation as the “Shampart Dossier” and promised his own review.
“To that end we are engaging an independent review of the investigator and the investigation,” he wrote on Facebook. “The more the facts come out on this, the more it is clear this was a political hit job/label-lynching paid for by us taxpayers.”
The investigation report also delved into documents allegedly distributed by Shea, including guidelines for conducting holy war, dubbed “Biblical Basis for War.” That document included instructions such as, “If they do not yield — kill all males.” Shea has said he distributed the Biblical Basis for War only as a historical sermon and that it’s been taken out of context.
The report also includes a 2016 itinerary from a Marble Country church that shows Shea leading a “critical skills course” for youth teaching, among other things, how to “field strip and reassemble AR-15; land navigation; field dressing wounds; radio operations and procedures …”
Another document Shea apparently distributed is titled “The Apparatus of Repression: Washington State’s Order of Battle,” with details on the leadership, organization and tactics of the Washington State Patrol and other local law enforcement.
Many of those documents had been reported on by news organizations over the years, including in Rolling Stone magazine and the Bundyville story series and podcast, published by Longreads and Oregon Public Broadcasting, in The Guardian, a British publication and by The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.
After the report’s release last month, House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, suspended Shea — first elected in 2008 — from the Republican caucus and called on him to resign. Shea lost his office and his committee assignments.
Wilcox has drawn criticism from some conservatives for his suspension of Shea, with several county and local GOP organizations denouncing the action.
For example, the Grays Harbor Republican Party passed a resolution accusing one co-author of the Shea report of being “a far left socialist democrat contributor and Marxist …” The resolution called Shea “a great representative” and requested his reinstatement.
Wilcox also has received emails, letters and even Post-it notes from Shea supporters, according to records released under a public-disclosure request. A woman from Chewelah, writing on gorilla-themed stationery, called Wilcox’s actions “akin to guerrilla warfare to sabotage a good man.”
Some others wrote Wilcox notes of support, such as a Vancouver woman who said she was “gravely concerned” about Shea after reading about his “Biblical Basis for War” manifesto and his views on Muslims and gay people. “We don’t need that kind of bigotry in Washington State government,” she wrote.
On Tuesday, Jinkins, the Democratic House speaker, said she hadn’t yet read through the supporting documents. Jinkins said she hoped lawmakers would review them in the coming days so they can “settle themselves with where they think we should go” regarding an expulsion vote.