LOCAL NEWS

Growing calls for Rep. Shea’s resignation, amid claims of surveillance, blacklist

Aug 21, 2019, 5:19 AM
Matt Shea...
Washington State Rep. Matt Shea. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Spokane Police Guild became the latest group to call for Republican Washington State Rep. Matt Shea to resign.

“The Spokane Police Guild finds Representative Matt Shea’s actions in keeping city of Spokane officials under surveillance appalling and join with those asking for his immediate resignation,” the guild said in a recent Facebook post.

“It is the duty of both law enforcement and elected government officials to uphold the Constitution,” the guild continues. “It is clear by Mr. Shea’s conduct he is more interested in promoting his own ideology than upholding the rights afforded to all citizens under the Constitution.”

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The union represents rank and file officers. The guild’s demand followed similar calls from various Spokane-area elected leaders Sunday allegedly targeted by Shea.

The latest round of calls for the six-term Republican state lawmaker to quit or be expelled from the Legislature started after he was linked last week to a Washington state group claiming to conduct “patriotic and biblical training on war for young men.” This included boys and teens. Training involved how to use knives, pistols and rifles, and is based in part on the teachings of a neo-Confederate pastor.

Leaked emails obtained by the Guardian appear to show Shea had close ties to the group, including a 2016 email to Shea from the leader of a group called Team Rugged that described the training.

“Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern Christians,” the leader of Team Rugged wrote to Shea in an email. “There will be scenarios where every participant will have to fight against one of the most barbaric enemies that are invading our country, Muslims terrorists.”

Rep. Matt Shea allegedly used app to discuss surveillance of liberals

Shea also posted a video of himself interviewing the leader of the group in 2017, apparently impressed with the training.

Then over the weekend, the Spokesman Review uncovered more of Shea’s leaked private emails and documents from several sources. They reportedly show that Shea was compiling dossiers on local progressive leaders, including several Spokane city council members, and surveilling them.

He also reportedly kept a blacklist of suspected informants in his network, and plotted to establish a “provisional government” in the event of a collapse, bragging about his work to “turn back the tide” of those who practice Islam in the United States.

Shea also is said to have distributed a list containing the names and phone numbers of every working cop in Washington state, to help to “confirm or deny legitimacy” of investigators who made contact, and create a blacklist of possible informants.

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All of this fueled the fresh calls for Shea to resign over the past several days.

Among them, was the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.

“Every moment he occupies a seat in our state Legislature emboldens extremists and erodes the legitimacy of our sacred institutions,” the organization said.

“Anything short of the expulsion of Matt Shea from the Washington state House of Representatives is a threat to our community, a threat to our collective safety and an implicit endorsement of white supremacy,” The NAACP’s statement continued.

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart, who Shea was reportedly surveilling, is also among those calling for him to resign.

“I’m an elected official, people say things all the time about me, but I worry when white nationalism is so prominent in our region [and] how that affects our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural community,” Stuckart said in an interview with KHQ-TV.

“I call on every person running for office in our region to denounce Matt Shea, his threats of violence and intimidation, and ask for his immediate resignation or removal from office,” Stuckart added.

Stuckart is currently locked in a tight race for Spokane mayor.

The new allegations surfacing this past week come on top of other recent controversy surrounding Shea, including the leak of his manifesto, a “biblical basis for war” against people who practice same-sex marriage, abortion, and more.

Spokane Sheriff: ‘I do have concerns’ about Rep. Matt Shea

Shea later said it was taken out of context, and that it was just a collection notes for a sermon on war from the Old Testament.

Earlier this year, there was more trouble for Shea, when the Guardian revealed details of internet chats from 2017 involving Shea and three other men linked to extremism who were suggesting confrontations with “leftists” using several tactics, including violence, surveillance, and intimidation.

Those chats also appear to show Shea offering to run background checks on political opponents.

Shea was easily re-elected despite his “manifesto” coming out just ahead of the election last year. He did end up losing his leadership position in the House, however.

After the internet chats came out, House leadership decided to investigate, eventually hiring an outside agency to run an independent investigation into Shea focused on whether he planned or promoted political violence and the extent of his involvement with groups or people involved with such activities.

Rep. Matt Shea on latest controversy: ‘I will not back down’

They’ll also determine what the threat level was from any of Shea’s actions.

A preliminary report is due Sept. 30, with a final report to the Legislature December 1.

Shea did not respond to requests for comment, which is his general response to media. On Friday he did post a message on Facebook thanking followers for all of their support.

“WOW. THE OUTPOURING OF PRAYERS AND SUPPORT HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING. Thank you and blessings to you all!” the post read.

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Growing calls for Rep. Shea’s resignation, amid claims of surveillance, blacklist