Matt Shea
Gov. Jay Inslee delivers his State of the State Address during the Joint Legislative Session, January 12, 2016.

This is appalling… but not sur­pris­ing:

A Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can politi­cian took part in pri­vate dis­cus­sions with right-wing fig­ures about car­ry­ing out sur­veil­lance, “psy­ops” and even vio­lent attacks on per­ceived polit­i­cal ene­mies, accord­ing to chat records obtained by the Guardian.

That Repub­li­can politi­cian is Matt Shea, a for­mer Unit­ed States Army lieu­tenant who now serves in the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, osten­si­bly rep­re­sent­ing the 4th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict — though we don’t think he rep­re­sents any­one at all giv­en his views and lengthy record of hate speech.

Shea is as extreme as they come. He has admit­ted to dis­trib­ut­ing lit­er­a­ture asso­ci­at­ed with the white nation­al­ist Aryan Nations move­ment call­ing for the death of non-Chris­t­ian males who do not fol­low bib­li­cal laws. (Shea’s activ­i­ties so alarmed the Repub­li­can Spokane Coun­ty Sher­iff that the FBI was called in to inves­ti­gate.)

“You have a sec­tor that is preach­ing hate and false­hood, then you have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to shut that down,” Sher­iff Kne­zovich told the Pacif­ic North­west Inlan­der. “Matt Shea has a respon­si­bil­i­ty to shut that down. He feeds the fire.”

Shea and a small group of oth­er mil­i­tant right wingers want the part of Wash­ing­ton they live in to secede and form a new state called Liberty.

They are obsessed with cre­at­ing a pseu­do-lib­er­tar­i­an par­adise and wrong­ly believe that if they could only sev­er polit­i­cal ties with West­ern Wash­ing­ton, they would be free to imple­ment their white nation­al­ist agen­da. (I say pseu­do-lib­er­tar­i­an because this soci­ety would not be tru­ly lib­er­tar­i­an; Shea and his ilk do not believe in repro­duc­tive rights or the free­dom to mar­ry as true lib­er­tar­i­ans do.)

Shea — who often speaks at right wing ral­lies yet declines inter­views — is in total agree­ment with Don­ald Trump that the mass media are “the ene­my of the peo­ple”. He fre­quent­ly denounces peo­ple he does­n’t agree with as “Marx­ists”.

Pri­or to being pro­filed by Rolling Stone last year and inves­ti­gat­ed by the FBI, Shea was involved in sup­port­ing the mil­i­tant group that seized con­trol of the Mal­heur Wildlife Refuge in Ore­gon and broke numer­ous fed­er­al laws.

Now The Guardian has obtained evi­dence that Shea dis­cussed car­ry­ing out vio­lent attacks against oth­er peo­ple with oth­er extrem­ist right wingers.

“Fist full of hair, and face slam, to a Jer­sey bar­ri­er. Treat em like com­mu­nist rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. Then shave her bald with a K‑Bar USMC field knife,” wrote Shea pal Jack Robert­son in the chat. “Would make good attach­ment points for hoist­ing com­mu­nists up flag poles. Espe­cial­ly the ones with nip­ple rings. But… if you cinch up zip ties enough, you don’t even NEED nip­ple rings for hoisting.”

“Shea, the elect­ed Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tor, did not demur from any of these sug­ges­tions,” reports The Guardian’s Jason Wil­son. “He also appeared will­ing to par­tic­i­pate direct­ly in sur­veil­lance of activists.”

“In response to a request in the chat for back­ground checks on Spokane res­i­dents, Shea vol­un­teered to help, going on to name three indi­vid­u­als – includ­ing an orga­niz­er for the lib­er­al group Indi­vis­i­ble, and a col­lege professor.”

This dis­turb­ing con­duct war­rants fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion. The Wash­ing­ton State House should open its own inves­ti­ga­tion into Matt Shea and his activ­i­ties. Shea should at least be cen­sured for this con­duct and for­mal­ly rep­ri­mand­ed. This is absolute­ly unac­cept­able behav­ior for a pub­lic offi­cial. There must be dis­ci­pline. House lead­er­ship can­not look the oth­er way: they must act.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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2 replies on “Washington State House should investigate extremist Matt Shea’s disturbing conduct”

  1. Shea is dan­ger­ous. Per­haps he needs to be locked up so we can make Wash­ing­ton great again?

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