Washington House Republican leaders have expelled state Representative Matt Shea from their caucus after an independent investigation found the Spokane Valley lawmaker’s role in the armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge in 2016 amounted to “an act of domestic terrorism against the United States.”
The findings of the four-month investigation are detailed in a 108-page report delivered to rank-and-file members of the House. Leaders of both parties – including Republican Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox – called for Shea’s resignation and said the findings had been forwarded to the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office.
The report largely corroborates previous news stories about the six-term lawmaker’s involvement in the far-right “patriot” movement, his preoccupation with military-style prepping and reconnaissance, his belief in an imminent civil war and government collapse, his conspiracy theories about Muslims and liberals, and his dream of achieving a Christian theocracy. But the report also reveals new details about Shea’s involvement in standoffs with federal agents in Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho, and it offers an official determination that Shea has sought to intimidate political opponents and condoned acts of violence by his supporters.
House Republican leaders on Thursday expelled Shea from their caucus and stripped him of his committee assignments.
If Shea does not resign voluntarily, the House has the option of expelling him from the Legislature, which requires a two-thirds vote in the House. While Democrats have a majority, the move would require at least some Republican votes.
Only one lawmaker has been expelled from the Legislature in the history of the state – Nelson Robinson was ousted in 1933 for the sexual abuse of a minor. (Spokesman-Review)