Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, who was accused of domestic terrorism by a House-commissioned report last year, intentionally poured a trail of olive oil along the steps of a Capitol building, causing more than $4,700 in damage, according to the state Department of Enterprise Services, part of an apparent counter-protest to a demonstration of Satanists.
Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley, is being billed $4,761.34 for damage to the steps and base of Legislative Building North, Department of Enterprises (DES) spokeswoman Linda Kent said.
The damage occurred March 6, the same day as a demonstration at the Capitol organized by the Satanic Temple of Washington, DES said. The Satanic Temple had applied for and received a permit to hold a demonstration.
Videos from the day shows people dressed in black-hooded gowns marching with black and white American flags, beating drums and chanting “hail Satan.” Several carried pentagram symbols, often associated with Satanism. Behind them, others held a sign proclaiming “Satan has NO rights, God Bless America.”
Shea looked on from the edge of the scene as the Satanists performed their demonstration and the counter-protesters tried to speak over them.
Shea did not respond to requests for comment. He wrote on Facebook that he had “cleaned the ground” after the Satanist demonstration.
Shea can be seen on separate surveillance video carrying a bottle of olive oil through Capitol hallways, on Capitol grounds and on the stone steps that ended up stained. In some of the videos he is trailed by a group of men wearing black leather vests emblazoned with crucifixes and calling themselves “Christian Crusaders.” Several of the men carry shofars, or rams horns.
“Satanists showed up to perform some sort of ritual,” Shea wrote on Facebook, on the day of the protest. “It failed. We are victorious in Christ and He granted us victory today. We prayed, claimed, and cleaned the ground, and evangelized showing the radical love of God.”
Tarkus Claypool, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple of Washington, said he didn’t notice any conflict with Shea during the demonstration.
“We just focused on what we were doing,” Claypool said. “It’s going to take a lot more than Matt Shea and his bottle of salad dressing to stop us from exercising our First Amendment rights.”
Another video shows the damage: A stain, about 100-feet long according to a DES incident report, that runs from the street, up the building’s marble steps, and along its base to its entry.
“Special care must be taken when cleaning and repairing historic masonry such as the masonry of the Legislative Building,” Kent said. “There is considerable science involved in the preservation and cleaning of historic masonry.”
“Masonry materials are porous and oils and other materials can penetrate into the microscopic pores making extraction of the oil or other materials a time consuming and difficult process,” she said.
KING 5 first reported about Shea being billed for the damage.
Kent said the Washington State Patrol was not asked to investigate, in part because Shea did not intend to cause long-term damage to the building. She compared it to a ball kicked through a window.
“People often do not realize long-term damage can be caused to historic buildings with such actions,” Kent said. “In cases like this, the cost to taxpayers to make such repairs is typically handled administratively, with the responsible party billed.”
Chris Loftis, a State Patrol spokesman, said they would investigate, but only if asked.
“DES made the determination that it was in the best interests to pursue it administratively,” Loftis said. “We follow their lead. DES is effectively the landlord of the property.”
Shea has faced calls to resign over his involvement in a six-week armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon in 2016, which involved dozens of armed protesters and ended after one protester was shot dead and dozens were arrested.
Gov. Jay Inslee and House and Senate leaders called for Shea to resign. He refused.
House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, suspended Shea from the Republican caucus and said he should resign but declined to say he should be removed. Expelling a lawmaker requires a two-thirds majority of House members, and Republicans declined to expel Shea.
On Thursday, Kathy Leodler, the former FBI agent who conducted the investigation into Shea last year, said she was “appalled, insulted and incensed” at Shea’s latest actions.
“Let me call it what it is, vandalizing ‘The People’s House,'” Leodler said. “Matt Shea needs to be taken to the woodshed, but I see little or no effort to stop this man despite the fact we told the House his unacceptable and potentially dangerous behavior would continue if unchecked.
“This proves my point, it’s the slippery slope affect,” she said. “Let me repeat, and mark my word, if he continues to go unchecked, these arrogant, juvenile, malicious acts will continue and will eventually escalate and he will cause greater harm.”
Staff writer Christine Clarridge contributed to this report.