SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Spokane Valley Republican Representative Matt Shea released a statement on Facebook ahead of the 2020 legislative session calling the investigation that found he engaged in acts of domestic terrorism a lie.
Shea released the statement on his Facebook page at about 11 a.m. on Friday. In the statement, he called the findings that he engaged in domestic terrorism a lie.
"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," Shea said in the statement, "Based solely on this investigator’s dossier, the Speaker of the House said I 'engaged in an act of domestic terrorism.' This is a lie."
The investigation, carried out by private firm The Rampart Group, said investigators gave Shea the chance to respond to allegations and see the evidence found in the investigation, which it said Shea declined.
The investigation found that Shea engaged in an act of domestic terrorism. The act of domestic terrorism related to Shea's involvement in the planning and carrying out of the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover by the Bundy family.
Other times the investigation found that Shea helped conflicts against the United States government were a 2014 armed standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada and a 2015 armed conflict in Priest River.
The investigation also found he planned, promoted and engaged in political violence.
Shea has denied the findings of the investigation from the start, and compared it to impeachment proceedings against Trump.
The Washington State House Republican Caucus expelled Shea after the investigation. This means Shea cannot use Republican staff, his office was moved away from the rest of the House Republican Caucus, and he cannot meet with caucus members.
Washington State House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. J.T. Wilcox said Shea should resign in a statement.
Other local politicians, including Spokane County Sheriff Ozzy Knezovich and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, released statements condemning Shea. Knezovich said the investigation's findings should be passed to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office for a criminal investigation, which ended up happening.
In Shea's statement Friday, he said he hadn't heard from the FBI and that he should be afforded due process.
Shea's full statement is replicated in full below:
"MY STATEMENT PRIOR TO SESSION:
Under our Constitution, anyone accused of a crime has right to see all the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and to call witnesses in their defense.
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. Based solely on this investigator’s dossier, the Speaker of the House said I “engaged in an act of domestic terrorism.”
This is a lie.
The Speaker also said she forwarded the dossier to the FBI and the US Attorney's office. I have heard nothing from either office in the month since she did so. In fact, the only contact I have had with the FBI I am deeply grateful for -- this past year agents contacted me to warn me of threats against me and my family as a result of these continued politically motivated attacks.
If the Speaker actually believes what she says, that I am a “domestic terrorist,” she should respect the ability and proper role of prosecutors and federal law enforcement to make a charging determination. Elected officials who casually accuse others of crimes without waiting for prosecutors to charge (much less juries convict), all with an eye towards overturning the results of elections they disagree with, are an ugly and corrosive feature of our modern political landscape.
The only member of the House in Washington State to ever be expelled was after they had been afforded due process and convicted of a crime. You don’t have to agree with my political views to believe that anyone accused of a crime has a right to see all the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and to call witnesses in their defense. These rights are guaranteed by our Constitution. Any action by the Legislature based solely on the dossier and without affording me those basic rights undermines the very pillars of our Republic.
I look forward to continuing to represent the people of my district. I do so with a renewed sense of the importance of our Constitution’s protections for the powerless against the vindictiveness of the powerful."