Militant extremist Matt Shea of Spokane Valley — who represents the 4th Legislative District in the Washington State House of Representatives — has been in the news a lot lately as media organizations continue to delve deeper into his disturbing activities and the House officially investigates whether he has “has engaged in, planned, or promoted political violence against groups or individuals.”
If you’ve never heard of Matt Shea before, here’s what you need to know.
Shea is a fundamentalist religious zealot with violent tendencies who has a long history of bad behavior. He was first elected to the state Legislature eleven years ago and has been continuously reelected since in his solidly Republican district.
He pulled a gun in a road rage confrontation. He called the tax audit of Idaho Rep. Phil Hart “bureaucratic terrorism.” He riffed with Alex Jones about FEMA camp conspiracies. He encouraged people to stock up on ammo to use on looters when society inevitably collapses.
He flew down to Nevada to cheerlead the Bundy Ranch standoff. He sent a “security expert” named Anthony Bosworth — who had earlier been arrested for bringing an AK-style rifle to the federal courthouse — down to help the armed occupiers of the Oregon wildlife refuge.
He repeatedly refuses to answer questions from the local newspapers, referring to them as the “Socialist-Review” and the “Inslander.”
Most frightening of all, though, was the revelation that Shea had authored and distributed a document called “Biblical Basis for War”, which appears to justify violence against anyone who disagrees with right wing fundamentalist ideology.
“The document is organized in fourteen sections with multiple tiers of bullet points and a smattering of biblical citations,” The Spokesman-Review reported. “Under one heading, ‘Rules of War,’ it makes a chilling prescription for enemies who flout ‘biblical law.’ It states, ‘If they do not yield – kill all males.’”
Shea has admitted to distributing the document.
Shea was formerly the Chair of the House Republican Caucus in Olympia, but after his involvement in the circulation of “Biblical Basis for War” was revealed, the House Republicans quietly removed him from that post.
Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that Shea “took part in private discussions with right wing figures about carrying out surveillance, ‘psyops’ and even violent attacks on perceived political enemies.” Read their report here.
In August, The Guardian followed up with a new report revealing that Shea “connected close allies with a group offering training to young men in ‘biblical warfare’ that includes how to use knives, pistols and rifles, with lessons based in part on the teachings of a Georgia-based neo-Confederate pastor.”
The Washington State Republican Party and its top brass have pretty much kept mum in the wake of the revelations about Shea’s activities, neither offering a defense of Shea nor condemning his despicable behavior, though Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich (a Republican) has offered forceful denunciations.
The Washington State Democratic Party, on the other hand, has openly called for action, saying that Shea is unfit for public office. The party’s Advocacy Committee (which I chair) has recommended that the expulsion of Shea be a legislative priority in 2020 and the party is calling upon Shea’s corporate supporters to retract their support through a Cancel Matt Shea campaign that launched today.
Several companies and lobbying associations have already stated that they will not be making any further contributions to Shea, including Boeing, Allstate, and the Washington State Hospital Association. The Democratic Party is calling on Shea’s other corporate supporters to follow suit immediately.
The business community may be pulling away from Shea, but he still enjoys strong support from the pro-Trump Republican rank and file in Washington State as well as prominent Republican activists. Shea hosts a podcast called Patriot Radio that combines fundamentalist ramblings with interviews of like-minded souls.
In June of this year, Shea had disgraced initiative promoter Tim Eyman on to talk about Initiative 1648, a measure that Eyman was promoting at the time to reverse the revenue reforms adopted by the 2019 Washington State Legislature.
Not long after, the “Liberty State” extremists who had helped Eyman with signature gathering for I‑1648 had a public falling out with him.
But before those events, Eyman was invited to come on Shea’s program and promote his various schemes, including I‑1648 and I‑976.
At the end of the interview, Eyman offered a full-throated endorsement of Shea and his politics. Here’s a transcript of their exchange:
TIM EYMAN: I am so grateful, man. And Matt: Thank you so much for having me on. You’re just a hero down in Olympia.
And [yours is] just one of the few voices down there that hasn’t gotten Stockholm syndrome identifying with your captors. That you’re so willing to fight the good fight, even when you don’t have the numbers in party, but you’ve got that, you know, you’ve got the right ideas and the right principles on your side.
[Eyman provides his contact information for Shea’s listeners]
We hope you join in and help us get that on the ballot.
MATT SHEA: Tim Eyman. Thank you. Permanent Offense. I love that. I’m going to mention it anyways — Permanent Offense — because we should be on permanent offense.
TIM EYMAN: We should be on permanent offense.
MATT SHEA: The truth is … the truth is behind us, right? So hey, thanks for joining me on Patriot Radio today.
God bless you and keep up the fight.
TIM EYMAN: You too, man. You’re awesome.
MATT SHEA: All right, so Tim Eyman. And once again… give them nothing dot com. What a great website [Shea utters an evil laugh]. Give them not one red cent more. Not one more cent.
Prefer to listen to the Eyman-Shea lovefest? Here’s an audio clip.
Here at the Northwest Progressive Institute, we have been working to counter the toxic politics of agents of destruction like Tim Eyman and Matt Shea for over seventeen years through our Permanent Defense project. (Permanent Defense is so named because Eyman’s initiative factory, which was originally named Permanent Offense and now is again, requires year round opposition.)
You can support our work by becoming a member of the Northwest Progressive Institute or making a one-time donation to support our work.
Your contribution will enable us to continue defending Cascadia from the harms that Eyman, Shea, Donald Trump and others seek to inflict on those who do not share their extreme, militant, white supremacist ideology.