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Investigation into Rep. Matt Shea continues longer than expected

Washington State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Washington state lawmakers and the public will have to wait a bit longer for findings from an investigation into controversial Representative Matt Shea.

The outside agency the Legislature hired was expected to release a preliminary report Monday, but officials in the House say the investigation is ongoing and it doesn’t expect a draft report on time.

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Instead, investigators will meet with lawmakers from the rules committee to go over initial findings before the full report is released in December.

Among others, investigators are looking at whether the Spokane Valley Republican promoted political violence. Various reports allege that Shea engaged in everything from armed groups training kids for a holy war to spying on his political rivals. Various other allegations have surrounded the representative, including that he is part of white nationalist groups, or anti-government groups, or that he at least supports them.

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Most recently, Shea was the focus of an episode of the Bundyville podcast that covered the politician’s association with fringe groups, which are potentially violent and anti-government. Some of these groups promote a new state or homeland that is governed by a theocracy for white people. While Shea has not publicly supported that specific angle, he has proposed legislation to form a 51st state called “Liberty.” Liberty would be formed by Eastern Washington seceding from the rest of the state.

Meantime, Republican leaders are facing more and more pressure to expel Shea from the caucus. Some want him booted from the Legislature altogether. Shea was removed from his leadership positions in the Legislature in late 2018.

Many of Shea’s donors have begun distancing themselves from the politician. The Washington State Democrats have also started a “Cancel Matt Shea” website that encourages people to contact Shea’s corporate donors and pressure them to cease donating to his campaigns. The introductory paragraph on the website states:

White Nationalism is alive and well in Washington State, thanks to State Representative Matt Shea. Shea’s corporate donors must denounce his actions and recognize that if they fund him, they are also funding the growth of White Nationalism in Washington State. Tweet Shea’s donors and urge them to stop funding Shea’s efforts to spread his dangerous, extremist ideology.

The website also thanks a range of companies that have already “divested” from Matt Shea.

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

MyNorthwest’s Dyer Oxley contributed to this report.

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