KREM 2 on November 27 aired a segment on Matt
Shea (R-Legislative District 4, City of Spokane Valley north to Mt. Spokane)
losing the leadership position he held last year as the Minority Caucus Chair
in the Washington State House. (the TV segment is worth watching) Apparently,
there are enough reasonable WA State Republican Legislators to respond to the
national coverage of Mr. Shea’s “Biblical Basis of War” manifesto,
even though most of them do not want to talk about it.
Jim Camden covered the Republican
Party Caucus leadership shift in an article on November 26 in the Spokesman:
Asked whether the
controversy had anything to do with the change in leadership [dropping Shea], Wilcox [(R-Yelm)the
House minority leader] said House Republicans “don’t share caucus debates.”
But he said Shea may be named the ranking Republican on one of the House
committees next month when those panels are selected, and a caucus chairman
can’t also serve as the ranking minority member of a committee.
It remains to be seen whether the
Shea’s loss of position is mostly cosmetic or substantive.
Late last week and this weekend a
link circulated on the internet to a Southern Poverty Law Center article
spotlighting Mr. Shea on the national stage once again. I’ve copied and pasted
it below. The Southern Poverty Law Center is the premier U.S. non-profit
organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other
extremists. The SPLC was instrumental in spotlighting the Aryan Nations in
north Idaho in the 1990s and 2000s.
It seems Mr. Shea may have
tripped himself up with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission by
using his leftover campaign funds to donate to various non-501(c)(3) hate
One chilling aspect of this for
me was a quote out of a Rolling Stone article: Shea’s ex-wife
said, “Shea believed he would one day be president of the United States,
that he would be assassinated and that he ‘predicts a civil war.'” (This
comment was made long before Donald Trump became President and began yelling
“Fake News!”) The other chill came over me when an internet search for the “Southern Poverty Law
Center” revealed numerous websites disparaging the work of the
SPLC as manipulated by the far left. Below I’ve pasted a copy of the SPLC article on Mr. Shea, without further
commentary. It is worth the read for the detail, the background. and the links.
Keep to the high ground,
theorist and Washington state Republican Rep. Matt Shea has been skirting
Washington state law to funnel campaign contributions to far-right nonprofit
groups in Colorado and Arizona, a Hatewatch investigation reveals.
Shea uses his office
and campaign funds to spearhead a partitionist effort to split Washington into
two states, and may have violated state laws by using surplus campaign funds to
make at least $5,500 in contributions to far-right nonprofit organizations that
are not registered as charities with the Washington Secretary of State. State
law requires charities to be registered with the state to receive surplus
Shea is a vocal
supporter of the anti-public lands extremist movement, is
closely affiliated with members of the antigovernment militia movement, is a celebrity within the
antigovernment-inspired American Redoubt movement and for years
has taken to propagating anti-Muslim bigotry including forming the Spokane, Washington, chapter
of the anti-Muslim hate group ACT for America.
Shea’s surplus campaign
account made a $3,500 donation Sept. 10 to the
anti-Muslim hate group Americans for America of Centennial, Colorado. The group
hired John Guandolo, a former FBI agent well known
for his anti-Muslim activism, as director of training.
Guandolo was paid
$123,000 by the group in 2017 for “training of law enforcement personnel in the
field,” according to a report based on the organization’s 2017 tax returns that
was published this week in the Texas
Observer. Guandolo has appeared on Shea’s Patriot Radio broadcast where Shea
expressed interest in bringing Guandolo to Washington to provide law
Shea also tapped
surplus campaign funds to make a $2,000 donation on Aug. 24 to Citizens
for Free Speech, a Mesa, Arizona, nonprofit. Citizens for Free Speech is
operated by Patrick Wood and received IRS tax approval earlier this year. The
organization’s website states its purpose is to promote “men and women of moral
and religious integrity to assert their influence in local communities by
actually doing it.” Wood is widely followed by antigovernment
activists and antisemitic white supremacist groups, and the SPLC has identified
him as the foremost authority on the “one world”
candidates to deposit excess campaign contributions into a surplus account.
Unlike campaign accounts where funds can be used for election expenses, surplus
fund accounts are more tightly restricted. Surplus funds can only be
used to refund campaign contributions, transfer funds to a political party or
caucus political committee, be deposited in the state Treasury, be used for
future political campaigns, reimburse elected officials “for nonreimbursed,
public office-related expenses” or be donated to nonprofit organizations
registered with the state.
The contributions to
the two nonprofits reflect Shea’s ties across the gamut of the American
election officials earlier this week opened a separate inquiry into additional
campaign expenditures from Shea’s surplus account, the state Public Disclosure
Commission (PDC) said Wednesday.
The PDC has given
Shea until Dec. 19 to respond to a citizen’s
complaint over his use of surplus campaign funds to pay for radio broadcasts,
advertising and purchase of broadcast equipment, PDC spokeswoman Kim Bradford
The funds were used to
pay for radio broadcasts on Shea’s Patriot Radio show on the American Christian Network that operates
six AM and FM stations in eastern Washington. Shea also used the funds to
purchase advertising on Redoubt News, a website which the SPLC lists as an
antigovernment, conspiracy propaganda organization.
He acknowledged in a
rambling Facebook video that he wrote and distributed a
religious manifesto called the “Biblical Basis for War.” The document and his
explanation generated national press and infuriated some major contributions
including at least seven who have asked for refunds. These contributors donated
$10,500 of the $109,000 he collected in 2018.
The four-page document states that before a
declaration of war, the enemy must be given the opportunity to “stop all
abortions,” end “same-sex marriage,” eliminate “idolatry or occultism” and ban
“communism,” and that everyone “must obey Biblical Law.” If the enemy does “not
yield,” the manifesto states, then “kill all the males.”
Late last month, House
Republicans, who are in the minority in the Washington Legislature, stripped Shea of his party leadership
role as caucus chair where he led party meetings and helped set legislative
agendas. Prior to serving as caucus chair, Shea was assistant floor leader for
seven years. State investigations into illegal campaign fund expenditures could
now jeopardize his prospect for an appointment as the ranking member on
Shea wants to be
appointed as the senior Republican member on the environment or judiciary
committees. If Shea is overlooked, political experts say that would be a clear
signal that Republican leaders have had enough of Shea’s divisive actions and
inflammatory statements and intend to marginalize his political power.
The PDC complaint was filed Nov. 19 by Aaron
Jarvis, a volunteer for Democrat Ted Cummings, who challenged Shea in last
month’s race. Shea, a Republican, easily won his sixth term by a 58–42 percent
The complaint alleges
Shea’s campaign violated state law when it used surplus campaign funds to
purchase $12,000 for radio broadcasts on the American Christian Network, $1,750
in advertising with the Redoubt News website and $2,248 for broadcast
Bradford, the PDC
spokeswoman, said the state has 90 days from receipt of a complaint to
determine whether to dismiss the matter, settle the case with an administrative
penalty or, if serious enough, request a formal investigation that could lead
to a hearing before the Public Disclosure Commission. PDC has already
determined there was enough evidence to require a response from Shea.
Olympia attorney Walter
Smith, who has extensive experience in Washington campaign finance law, states
in an email to Hatewatch that Shea’s donation to Americans for America “does
not appear to be an allowed use of surplus funds.” Smith questioned the
legality of the Citizens for Free Speech donation “which does not show up as a
charity and raises the same issues in my mind.”
Smith also raised
concerns related to two $1,000 donations Shea’s campaign surplus fund made to
Daniels Prayer Ministry in Olympia, Washington, in March 2017 and last
February. Daniels Prayer Ministry is not on Washington’s registered charities
list. However, the state exempts entities recognized by the Internal Revenue
Service as religious organizations from its charity registration requirements.
The ministry is registered with the IRS as a religious organization.
Bradford said that
Smith filed a citizen’s complaint earlier this week concerning
Shea’s surplus fund contributions to the three unregistered charities. The PDC,
she said, has not completed its initial review of Smith’s complaint to
determine whether a response from Shea is warranted. Smith filed the complaint
after he was contacted by Hatewatch for comment on the nonprofit donations.
Smith because he has a history of filing campaign finance complaints against
many state legislators, including Shea. In October 2017, Smith filed a campaign
finance complaint against Shea for failing to
report contributions and expenditures in a timely manner. The complaint
resulted in a January 2018 judgment ordering Shea to pay $3,750 in attorney
fees to Smith’s firm and a $1,000 civil penalty to the state. Shea used his
campaign surplus funds to pay the attorney fees and fine last January.
campaign experts say elected officials usually use surplus campaign funds to
support their political parties, hold the funds in reserve for use in future
political campaigns for the same office or use the money to pay for expenses
directly related to their state position that the state does not reimburse.
In Shea’s case, state
investigators will likely have to determine if his use of surplus funds to buy
radio air time, purchase ads and buy broadcast equipment falls under
nonreimbursed, public office-related expenses. The state defines a nonreimbursed public office
related expense as “an expenditure incurred by an elected or appointed
official, or a member of his or her immediate family, solely because of being
Shea has routinely used
both regular campaign contributions and surplus funds to purchase air
time, advertising and broadcast equipment as well as to reimburse himself for
travel expenses touring the state advocating splitting Washington in two at the
Cascade Mountains to create a 51st state to be called Liberty, state campaign finance records show.
From October 2017
through October 2018, Shea spent $15,000 from his regular campaign account to
purchase air time with American Christian Network (ACN). Just prior to this,
from December 2016 through September 2017, Shea instead used $11,000 from his
surplus account to purchase ACN airtime.
Shea’s Patriot Radio shows generally open with a
lengthy religious indoctrination, followed by Shea’s analysis of the news of
the day and concluding with an interview of typically far-right leaders. Shea’s
news analysis is often based on reports from InfoWars and the far-right World
Net Daily, both of which the SPLC lists as antigovernment, conspiracy and
Shea has also tapped
both his regular campaign account and his surplus account to reimburse himself
for travel expenses related to his promotion of a 51st state. Shea reimbursed
himself $132 on Sept. 6 and $205 on Sept. 20 out of his surplus account for
51st state related travel expenses, state records show. Shea also withdrew
funds from his regular campaign account to pay for 51st state related travel
expenses including $90 on Feb. 13, $147 and $58 both on April 10, $801 on June
4, and $119 on Aug. 7.
Shea has won each of
his six elections by a comfortable margin in the very conservative district.
This has allowed him to collect more than enough donations to cover his
campaign expenses. Shea has transferred $140,000 to his surplus campaign
account since 2011, state records show.
Shea’s surplus account
has spent $88,000 since it was created, with the largest single expenditures
going to the House Republican Organizing Committee that received $5,000 in
2011, $25,000 in 2016 and $5,000 this year. Shea has $51,400 remaining in
surplus funds, according to his latest disclosure report filed on Sept. 30.
It might not be as easy
for Shea to raise money in the future. Eight of his major donors have already
issued statements denouncing Shea’s religious manifesto, with seven demanding
refunds. Two major donors that contributed the maximum of $2,000 to Shea’s 2018
campaign said they will no longer contribute to Shea in the future.
contributions will be made to this individual,” spokesman Luis Sahagun stated
in a Nov. 15 email to Hatewatch.
Avista, a Washington
utility, also made it clear the company was done with Shea.
Mary Tyrie, communications
manager for Avista, stated in a Nov. 20 email to Hatewatch, “We do not plan on
contributing to Rep. Shea again.”