SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state lawmaker whose actions surrounding an armed standoff with federal agents were dubbed “domestic terrorism” will not seek reelection.
The Spokesman-Review reports that Matt Shea did not file a petition of candidacy for his state House seat on Friday, the last day available for people seeking offices in the 2020 election. Shea, a Republican, is from Spokane Valley.
A staunch conservative Christian and a fiery orator, Shea is a favorite among gun rights groups.
Shea is a co-founder of the Coalition of Western States, a loose federation of politicians and anti-government and militia supporters throughout the U.S. West. Its goal is to “stop unconstitutional actions against United States citizens,″ according to the December report into Shea’s activities, paid for by the Washington state House.
The report, by a Seattle-based private investigation agency, found Shea helped plan, engaged in or promoted three armed conflicts against the U.S. government in recent years. And it called his actions in one — the 2016 standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge — an “act of domestic terrorism against the United States.”
Following the report, Shea was removed from the House Republican Caucus. Most recently he was billed $4,700 for the cleanup of olive oil he intentionally poured on the steps of the state Capitol in March following an earlier demonstration by Satanists who had marched around the building.
Shea rarely speaks to the news media. A phone call to his legislative office went unanswered. Shea declined to be interviewed or participate in the report and called its findings a “lie” in a recent Facebook post.
“I have been falsely accused of being a ‘domestic terrorist’ by a private investigator who never spoke to the principals involved in the incidents she described and relied instead on anonymous sources,” he wrote.