Investigation finds GOP lawmaker engaged in domestic terrorism

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Washington state Rep. Matt Shea is accused of playing a key role in 'three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government.'

An NRA-backed Washington state lawmaker has been accused of domestic terrorism by an outside investigation ordered by the legislature. The leader of the Washington House Republican minority called on him to resign immediately over the accusations.

After a four-months-long independent investigation, the Rampart Group LLC sent the state legislature its 108-page report on Thursday. Its findings were that Republican Washington state Rep. Matt Shea played a key role in militia leader Ammon Bundy's deadly armed 2016 occupation of an Eastern Oregon refuge and two other domestic terrorist acts.

"Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washington over a three-year period," the report stated. "In one conflict Representative Shea led covert strategic pre-planning in advance of the conflict."

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Shea, a six-term representative and former state House Republican caucus chair, also serves as head of the Coalition of Western States, an anti-federal government group. He and his allies have engaged in armed rebellions to protest grazing fees on public lands.

Shea compared himself to the just-impeached Donald Trump as he denounced the report. "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. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign," he posted on Thursday night.

Shea did not immediately respond to an inquiry asking what aspects of the report he disputes.

This follows a long record of extremist behavior. In 2012, he backed legislation to claim that the U.S. dollar is unconstitutional. In 2013, he told the crowd at tea party event to stockpile ammunition for a dystopian future. In 2017, he has proposed that Eastern Washington secede from the rest of the state to escape gun restrictions. In 2018, his "Biblical Basis for War" manifesto leaked, revealing his views that the Old Testament justifies war to force everyone to obey strict biblical law, including ending the right to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The state's House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox called on Shea to resign his office. On Thursday night, he announced that Shea had been "suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus," and that he "cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, [and] his office will be moved."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.