Matt Shea has served as a state representative for Washington since 2008. He's also a violent religious separatist and a member of the extreme right-wing Patriot Movement. Shea was an ardent supporter of Cliven Bundy, the Mormon extremist who lead a face-off with the government over cattle-grazing fees and an admitted act of arson, and later joined in on the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He also has a history of violent road rage, and has been accused of physical abuse by multiple ex-wives. And then there was that whole thing with child training camps for an impending race war.
Somehow, none of that has disqualified him thus far from serving in the Washington State House of Representatives. But that might change, thanks to a new report from an independent investigation into his activities. From NPR:
Independent investigators commissioned by the Washington State House of Representatives found that Shea, as a leader of the Patriot Movement, "planned, engaged in, and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States government" between 2014 and 2016.
The report also concluded that Shea was involved in training young people to fight a "holy war." He created a pamphlet called Biblical Basis for War and advocated replacing the government with a theocracy and "the killing of all males who do not agree."
Chat messages showed Shea, a lawyer who was first elected in 2008, condoned intimidation of opponents, political activists, government officials and Muslims. He also offered to conduct background checks on political opponents.
To be clear: this man has a history of alleged actions and behavior that could be fairly interpreted as radical religious terrorism. And he is still serving in public office. In the immediate aftermath of this report, Shea has been suspended from the House Republican Caucus, and removed from both the House Environment and and House Energy Committees. But he is still, technically, a state representative, and has thus far refused to bow down to pressures to resign.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.