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Report: State Lawmaker Engaged in Domestic Terrorism

Washington Rep. Matt Shea says he isn't going anywhere
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2019 6:43 AM CST
In this April 22, 2019 file photo, Washington State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, adjusts his laptop computer on the floor of the House, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(Newser) – House Republicans in Washington state suspended one of their own Thursday after an investigation the House commissioned found he'd participated in "an act of domestic terrorism." The Spokesman-Review explains that the 108-page report on Rep. Matt Shea released Thursday by a Seattle firm "largely corroborates previous news stories about Shea's involvement in the far-right 'patriot' movement" and fleshes out the alleged role he played in a trio of standoffs with federal agents. Chief among them is the 2016 armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge. As chairman of the Coalition of Western States, Shea participated in "preplanning" phone calls with Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, "authored and circulated an operations plan" for militia members, and sent an associate to take part, the four-month investigation found.

Based on interviews and documents including texts and emails, the report also details Shea's alleged involvement in two other occupations: one launched by Bundy's father on federal land near Bunkerville, Nev., in 2014, and another in Priest River, Idaho, in 2015, when federal officials, acting in accordance with VA regulations, were blocked from seizing guns from an elderly veteran. Each situation "carried with it significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life," yet Shea "has suffered no negative repercussions," states the report, the product of an investigation that was spurred by the aforementioned news reports. House GOP Leader JT Wilcox suspended Shea from the caucus and said he would be removed from committees, per CNN. Expulsion from the House would require a two-thirds vote. "I will not back down ... I will not resign," Shea said late Thursday, berating "a sham investigation." The report's findings have been forwarded to the FBI and US attorney's office. (Read more Washington state stories.)

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