Last October as the November election approached Matt Shea made a local and national media splash with exposure of his “Biblical Basis for War” manifesto, a document he tried to explain away as an outline for a Sunday School lesson. (Matt Shea, along with McCaslin Junior, are the two Representatives to the State House in Olympia from Legislative District 4, Spokane Valley and the territory north to Mount Spokane. For more on Shea and his activities see the P.S. below) When Shea was making national and local news with his Manifesto, articles appeared in the Spokesman on three consecutive days, October 31, November 1, and November 2 listing business donors who said they wanted a refund of the money they donated the Shea campaign. Some, in their press releases, said “Shea does not reflect our values.” Some insisted they would not donate again.
Northwest Credit Union Association was the first to publicly request a refund. The Washington Association of Realtors, AT&T, The Washington Hospitality Association, Avista Corp., and the BNSF Railway Co. followed. The Washington Hospitality Association and others acknowledged that Shea was under no legal obligation to return the money.
Reading the Spokesman articles leaves the impression if Chad Sokol (the Spokesman reporter who wrote all three articles) had not taken the initiative to visit the Public Disclosure Commission’s website, and call Matt Shea’s donors for comment, few if any of these businesses would have made a public statement or requested a refund.
I urge you to visit the Public Disclosure Commission’s website pdc.wa.gov. It takes a little electronic digging, but there is a wealth of useful information. Click “Browse,” enter the candidate’s name and select from the list.
Did any of Matt Shea’s business donors get their money back? Visit Shea’s 2018 Campaign Expenditure page. I could find no evidence of a refund. The real test comes in the lead up to Shea’s 2020 election campaign. Will these businesses “forget” over two years and write Shea another check? After all, even though businesses (at least corporations) are, for legal purposes, treated as persons, business memory is likely to be fragmented. Will the right person remember the 2018 promise? The first donation to Shea’s 2018 campaign fund arrived on March 15, 2018. Perhaps in early 2020 we should remind these and other donors of Shea’s activities.
The total business donations to Shea’s 2018 campaign were $40,250, of which only $8000 came from the donors who publicly withdrew their support. Using the Public Disclosure Commission website it should not be hard to come up with a list of the other donors from 2018 to whom to suggest in early 2020 that donating to Shea might shine an unwanted light on them. Another $40,900 came from Political Action Committees with names like WASHINGTON STATE AUTO DEALERS PAC, WASHINGTON OPTOMETRIC PAC, and the WASHINGTON STATE DENTAL PAC. Might they be educated as well?
What Shea does with all this money (a grand total of $113,145.98 after adding in individual donations) is a story for another day. It is all there on the Public Disclosure Commission website.
Keep to the high road,
P.S. While using the Search function at the Spokesman in preparing this email I came upon an article on Matt Shea written by Shawn Vestal that appeared December 14, 2018. I encourage you to click the link and read it. As usual Mr. Vestal nails it.
P.P.S. Public Disclosure Commission website is for in-WA-State candidates. Federal candidate campaigns are found at FEC.gov.