Mimicking the attacks on President Trump, ultra-left Democrats and their Fake News allies have unleashed a massive campaign smearing Washington State Representative Matt Shea (shown) as a “domestic terrorist.”
In 2008, the same election year that saw Barack Obama win the White House, voters in the Fourth Legislative District of Washington State sent Matt Shea to Olympia to represent them in the Washington State House of Representatives. Representative Shea, an Army combat veteran, constitutional attorney, and unapologetic Christian, quickly demonstrated his leadership abilities and, in 2009, was deemed “Rookie Legislator of the Year” in the annual “Cappy Awards” bestowed by the Daily Herald of Everett, Washington.
“He brings clarity of conservative principles to the caucus, a voice for the common man in floor debate and a spark of energy for the party in 2010,” the Daily Herald’s Jerry Cornfield wrote in the Cappy Award profile. Shea also established his bona fides as a stalwart, effective, outspoken champion for the pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional marriage, pro-gun, pro-property rights, pro-freedom, anti-tax, anti-Big Government movements, all of which were looking for leadership against the onslaught of oppressive laws, policies, and regulations emanating from the extreme-left state overlords in Olympia.
Matt Shea’s fearless and unwavering stands on these and related issues earned him accolades, endorsements, and enthusiastic support from local, state, and national organizations: Human Life PAC, Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights, Association of Washington Business, National Federation of Independent Businesses, National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, Washington Association of Police and Sheriffs, Building Industry Association of Washington, Washington Farm Bureau, Washington Food Industry Association, and Washington Hospitality Association, among others. The Washington Conservative Union gave him the “most conservative” lifetime rating of Washington legislators.
Not surprisingly, organ-izations at the left end of the political spectrum view Representative Shea from a totally different perspective. Rather than a champion, they seem to view him as the devil incarnate. The pro-abortion fanatics at Planned Parenthood and NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) Pro-Choice Washington, for instance, see him as an implacable foe in Olympia. He received a “Grade F” and “0 percent” rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. The bosses for the government workers unions, the Washington Federation of State Employees and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, gave Shea ratings of 0 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Kieran Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the most extreme “environmental” groups, says of Shea: “He’s a textbook example of how racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, animal abuse, and anti-environmentalism go hand in hand. Shea should resign or be impeached immediately. His paranoid self-dealing authoritarianism has no place in American democracy.”
As might be expected, the professional smear artists at the ultra-left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have been label-lynching Shea almost from the very beginning of his legislative career, singling him out for hate treatment in more than two dozen reports over the years. The SPLC and its media allies have tried to hang him with the usual labels that they reflexively affix to conservatives: racist, anti-Semite, anti-government, homophobe, Islamophobe, white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, fascist, etc. As his influence in the state legislature and the conservative-constitutionalist movement has grown, the smears against him have grown more vicious. The attacks have also escalated in number and intensity with each election cycle. During his 2018 election campaign, Shea was slimed repeatedly by local, state, national, and international media organizations. Nevertheless, in spite of the continuous defamatory onslaught, Matt Shea has continued to be elected, winning his sixth term in 2018 with 58 percent of the vote.
Moreover, his influence has expanded throughout the Western states and nationally. He is a founding member and current chairman of the Coalition of Western States (COWS), an organization of elected officials that has as one of its main goals to facilitate the transfer of federally controlled public lands back to the state level, and to have the states and counties manage the lands, not politicians in “far-away Washington DC.” Shea was the co-founder of the Washington Family Foundation, which has since merged with the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He is an affiliate attorney of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has successfully defended Christian bakers, florists, and other business owners who are under attack from the militant LGBTQ bullies for refusing to service their “marriages.” He is also an affiliate attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute, which provides pro bono assistance to homeschoolers and Christians facing legal prosecution and persecution for their beliefs.
Going Nuclear on Shea
Painfully aware of Shea’s growing political stature and his formidable skills as an organizer, strategist, tactician, legal scholar, speaker, and motivator, the organ-ized Left has made him a primary target. He must be stopped! Removed! Terminated! The progressive chorus is especially panic-stricken over the prospect of Matt Shea possibly moving up to a seat in the U.S. Congress. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, currently represents Washington’s 5th Congressional District, on the eastern end of the state. The conservative district includes Spokane, the state’s second-largest city, as well as Matt Shea’s legislative district. This is “Shea country,” and he would be strongly positioned to assume that congressional seat, should McMorris Rodgers leave it. As a preemptive strike against such a possibility, and to make an example of him, the anti-Shea mob — both Democratic and Republican — have joined forces to preserve the state’s corrupt political swamp from Matt Shea and others like him who are committed to draining it. Since repeated efforts to smear him with the racist-fascist-Nazi-homophobe false charges didn’t work, they kicked it up several notches. Now Matt Shea is being label-lynched as a “domestic terrorist.”
In December, shortly before Christmas, the Democrat-controlled state House of Representatives released a report that, among other sensational charges, accused Representative Shea of participating in an “act of domestic terrorism against the United States” by participating in a fact-finding visit, along with other legislators, to the 2016 standoff between ranchers and federal authorities at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Oregon. The report also accused him of presenting “a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”
Entitled Report of Investigation Regarding Representative Matt Shea, Washington State House of Representatives, the 108-page report is the result of a four-month “investigation” carried out by the Rampart Group, an outfit run by Kathy Leodler, a former FBI agent, and her husband, Paul Leodler. Commissioned by the House Democrats (and paid for by the state’s taxpayers, to the tune of over $100,000), it is a barely disguised hit piece by Shea’s far-left political enemies.
After presenting 80 evidence-free pages of innuendo, regurgitations of anti-Shea media stories, and character assassination, the report’s authors admit that they “found no evidence” to justify the damning “domestic terrorist” label that they helped hang on Shea. Nevertheless, they proceed with the vilification, insisting that he is a “significant threat” when his activities are “viewed holistically.” In their concluding “Risk Assessment” (page 81), the Leodlers write: “Although this investigation found no evidence that Representative Shea presents an imminent direct threat to any individual or group, considerable evidence was discovered indicating Representative Shea has since 2014, presented a significant threat of political violence against employees of the Federal Government and state and local law enforcement officers, carried out through intermediaries sympathetic to the Patriot Movement.” (Emphasis added.)
Shea’s enemies in the media were primed and ready to run with the report, and the Democratic attack squad was happy to leak an advance copy to them before publicly releasing it or allowing Shea to see it. (We will return to particulars of the report, but first, a look at the media manipulation and exploitation of it.)
“Terrorist Matt Shea must be expelled from the Washington State House of Representatives” — so ran the headline of a December 20 column in the online Cascadia Advocate. “Yesterday, the Washington State House Republican leadership belatedly took action against their former caucus chair Matt Shea, a militant extremist who House investigators have confirmed is a domestic terrorist involved in planning and promoting political violence,” wrote the Cascadia Advocate’s Andrew Villaneuve. “Evidence of Shea’s treasonous activities and his proclivity for violence was already in the public domain, but it took the release of a report prepared by former FBI agents to spur House Republicans to finally act.”
The Cascadia Advocate is a website sponsored by the Northwest Progressive Institute, a mini version of the Clinton-Obama-Soros-Podesta socialist idea-factory known as the Center for American Progress. As such, the damage it can directly effect is limited, since its radical, partisan bias is readily apparent. However, essentially the same story with similar headlines ran in so-called mainstream media outlets across the country.
• NPR: “Washington Legislator Matt Shea Accused Of ‘Domestic Terrorism,’ Report Finds.”
• Associated Press/Los Angeles Times: “Washington state Rep. Matt Shea engaged in ‘domestic terrorism,’ report says.”
• CNN: “Investigation finds Washington state representative took part in ‘domestic terrorism.’”
• Newsweek: “Republican Lawmaker Matt Shea Was Involved in Domestic Terrorism and Is a ‘Risk to Others,’ Investigators Say.”
• Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “State Rep. Matt Shea ‘planned, engaged, promoted’ armed conflicts.”
Much the same fare poured out of the usual suspect spigots: New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, Time, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, PBS, et al. The echo-chamber effect was mind-numbing. Yet, there is nothing in the much-hyped report to sustain the incredible headlines and stories that followed its December 19 release. Shorn of insinuation and weasel-worded inferences, the Leodler report is an empty shell. Representative Shea has likened it to the liberal-left propaganda surrounding the “Trump-Russia Collusion” sham investigations and the “Trump-Ukraine Collusion” impeachment hoax. The comparisons are apropos. For over two years, the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton Big Media promised that “smoking gun” evidence would be produced by the House Democrats or Robert Mueller to prove Trump was/is colluding with Vladimir Putin. When that completely fizzled, we were promised that the House impeachment “investigation” would prove President Trump is guilty of crimes regarding Ukraine. That didn’t pan out either. But the Pelosi Democrats voted for impeachment anyway — even though they delayed transmitting their substanceless charges to the Senate.
Media’s Shea Derangement Syndrome
At any other time, an orchestrated media avalanche such as the one that has been unleashed on Matt Shea would be sufficient to finish any politician’s career. However, we are in a new era, and Matt Shea is not just any politician.
The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign introduced a new psychological phenomenon into our nation’s political and social consciousness: Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), a condition that causes large cohorts of anti-Trump political activists to go berserk — ranting, raving, screaming, and crying, with many escalating their rage to threats of violence, actual acts of violence, death threats, rioting, and more. Although the syndrome is primarily associated with leftists — “progressives,” socialists, communists, journalists, pundits, Democratic politicians, labor union goons, Hollywood celebrities — a fair number of establishment Republicans, globalist billionaires, and neoconservatives have also been afflicted with TDS.
Those severely affected by the syndrome transfer that same animus toward all Trump supporters — or anyone they view as even the slightest impediment to their plans for revolutionary “transformation” of the United States. President Trump scored such a tremendous response from his charge that the Fake News Media is “the enemy of the American people” precisely because the truth of the statement is so screamingly obvious to any decent, sentient person, and because so many Americans had almost given up hope that they would ever see a political figure who would call out the Big Media malefactors the way President Trump does.
The validity of Trump’s charges is borne out not only by the unceasing onslaught of malicious and biased media attacks on him, but also by a huge number of notorious cases that have exposed rampant Big Media malpractice, such as the attempted character assassination of Trump judicial nominee Brett Kavanaugh; the slanderous media mugging of Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann; and the infamous Jussie Smollett hate-crime hoax, to name but a few. All of this has so thoroughly discredited the Fake News industrial complex that other lynching victims such as Shea have a much better chance of survival than in times past.
The media’s Shea Derangement Syndrome is also exposed by their lack of concern about — or outright sympathy for — the very real violence and lawlessness of the masked Antifa terrorists, Indivisible activists, environmental extremists, and union thugs. Then too, voters in eastern Washington are also unlikely to put much stock in charges coming from politicians from the socialist “People’s Republic of Seattle,” where every day seems to bring insane, new statewide policies. Seattle, after all, boasts a 16-foot-tall, seven-ton statue of Bolshevik icon Vladimir Lenin. The monument to the communist, mass-murdering dictator, which the people of Czechoslovakia tore down in 1989, was “rescued” and brought to Seattle, where it graces (or, rather, defiles) a major intersection. It was Lenin’s bloodthirsty right-hand man, “Iron Felix” Dzerzhinsky, first head of the Cheka (forerunner of the KGB) who stated, “We represent in ourselves organized terror.” So, consider the source. How genuine can Matt Shea’s accusers be about decrying alleged terrorism when they find no problem with public glorification of master terrorist Comrade Lenin?
Back to the Leodlers’ Rampart Group dossier, which is a hatchet job posing as an impartial investigation. As previously noted, it’s long on shocking innuendo but turns out to be remarkably threadbare when closely examined. First of all, let’s look at the elephant hiding under the doily: If Shea is a “domestic terrorist,” why has he not been officially charged, arrested, and prosecuted by any of the appropriate federal, state, or local authorities responsible for these duties? And why has he not been judged by a jury of his peers in a court of law, rather than being pilloried in the press by a mob of his enemies?
“Under our Constitution, anyone accused of a crime has the right to see all the evidence against them, to face their accusers, and to call witnesses in their defense,” Matt Shea noted in a January 10 statement. He continued: “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…. 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 fewer 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.”
Shea noted that the only member of the House to ever be expelled in Washington State was expelled after he 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,” he said. “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.”
Even a cursory reading of the Leodler dossier reveals that it is heavily padded with prejudicial “evidence” that simply amounts to quotes from and/or links to anti-Shea stories from the anti-Shea press and professional leftist organizations. Nearly 30 pages of the report (pp. 37-65) are consumed by a “Timeline of Events,” which relies heavily on stories from the Spokesman Review (Spokane’s daily newspaper), the Inlander (a left-wing Spokane tabloid), and Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) — all of which have been engaged in longstanding vendettas against Shea.
Another sizable chunk of the report, the “References” section (pp. 82-99), is filled with more citations from and links to the Spokesman Review, Inlander, and OPB — along with multiple citations of reports from the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and other hardcore left-wing sources such as Media Matters, In These Times, Rolling Stone, Political Research Associates, and The Daily Beast. The SPLC, it should be remembered, has maliciously smeared as “hate groups” such pro-life, pro-family, Christian organizations as the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, World Congress of Families, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Abiding Truth Ministries, and many others. In 2012, gunman Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Family Research Council intending to kill as many employees as possible and smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his victims’ faces. His planned massacre was thwarted by a security guard, who was wounded in the encounter with Corkins. Corkins possessed SPLC literature demonizing the Family Research Council and Chick-fil-A as anti-gay, and told police and FBI investigators he was inspired by the literature to target the council.
Also noteworthy is the Leodlers’ heavy reliance on The Guardian, Britain’s far-left socialist daily, which has had a curious obsession, over the past decade, with demonizing Representative Shea and other American conservatives. Not only is The Guardian repeatedly cited by the Leodler dossier/report, but this highly biased paper is also the source for many of the quotes used in many of the other media stories referenced by the Leodlers/Rampart. Most of these Guardian attacks are written by one Jason Wilson, an Australian who, apparently, is some sort of Marxist/anarchist who was moved to Portland by The Guardian to demonize the Right and lionize the Left. Not only does he malign Matt Shea and other conservatives, but he seems to have a special affinity for Antifa terrorists. Besides writing friendly stories about the violent Antifa thugs, his chummy relationship with the masked gangsters gives him almost unique immunity from their attacks, allowing him to circulate freely among them taking photos and video, while other journalists — even those of the liberal-left “mainstream” media — are physically accosted. That the anti-Shea Rampart report is so dependent on this Antifa propagandist speaks volumes!
Still another telling feature of the Rampart Group “investigation” is its reliance on Wikipedia, which is notorious not only for inaccuracy but also for its leftward slant. Not only do the Leodlers cite Wikipedia as their very first end note reference, it is their “go to” source for eight of their first ten references! That first reference, by the way, is Wikipedia’s entry for Matt Shea. Not surprisingly, it gets basic facts wrong and uncritically recycles attacks from Shea’s harshest critics. It states, for instance, that he has been reelected four times; actually it’s five times. “High school students aren’t even allowed to cite Wikipedia in their essays and reports,” Shea pointed out in an interview with The New American, “and yet, this supposedly authoritative report relies on Wikipedia and a rehash of media articles attacking me. It’s laughable.”
One of the most disturbing elements of the report is its use of anonymous “witnesses” to make some of the most damaging statements. This was done, say the Leodlers, due to fear of retaliation against the witnesses by Shea and/or his supporters. Again, this is a replay of the attacks we have seen on Brett Kava-naugh and President Trump, where media accounts endlessly repeated the charges, and only later did we learn that the evidence was bogus and the witnesses didn’t exist, didn’t remember, or disputed the quotes attributed to them.
Is the Leodler report the equivalent of the infamous “Steele dossier,” the salacious dirty-tricks operation by Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and the Obama-Comey FBI utilizing anonymous witnesses and bogus charges to smear then-candidate Donald Trump? The Leodler report itself, together with the political machinations surrounding it and the strategic media leaks, certainly bears a strong resemblance to the Steele dossier operation, as well as to the Mueller report and the House impeachment proceedings. Is former FBI Agent Kathy Leodler functioning simply as another hack political operative like veteran FBI hatchet men Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Robert Mueller, and James Comey? It’s entirely possible — even likely — that she and her Rampart Group are working with, and for, the same Deep State operatives at the FBI and Department of Justice that produced and marketed the Steele dossier.
“Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washington over a three-year period,” the Leodler report charges. “In one conflict Representative Shea led covert strategic pre-planning in advance of the conflict.”
The “three armed conflicts” referred to are the 2014 standoff at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy; the 2015 community support for a disabled veteran in Priest River, Idaho; and the 2016 Wildlife Refuge standoff in Harney County, Oregon, involving Ammon Bundy and others.
The report provides no evidence to back up its charge that Shea “planned” or “led covert strategic pre-planning” for either of the Nevada or Oregon confrontations involving the Bundys. Shea denies that he did so, and the Bundys also deny that he had any such role.
What about the 2015 “Priest River Armed Conflict”? Matt Shea, together with Idaho State Representative Heather Scott, the Bonner County sheriff, and upwards of 100 local citizens, gathered at the home of a disabled Vietnam War veteran to protest a decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to confiscate the veteran’s firearms. The veteran had suffered a stroke but was not mentally or physically incapacitated. Yes, some of the veteran’s supporters were armed — which was perfectly legal — but there was no “armed conflict,” or anything plausibly resembling such a description.
The Leodler report also references Shea’s association with the Marble Community Fellowship, which it describes as a “Christian Identity ideology church” that holds “a racist, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist interpretation of Christianity.” Matt Shea has been clobbered repeatedly with completely dishonest media charges about this for the past several years. If you consult the accompanying photos above, you will see that two of the pastors/preachers at Marble Community Fellowship, Pastor Doug Taft and Reverend Matthew Cummings, are black! Talk about Fake News! The Media Lie Machine is blatantly exposed here in black and white. They know the Marble “white supremacist” line is a lie, yet they continue to perpetuate it.
The Leodler report concludes with this risible declaration: “Based on evidence obtained in this investigation, it is more probable than not that Representative Shea is likely to plan, direct, and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life. It is the professional opinion of the Investigators, that on a more probable than not basis, Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”
That far-left Democrats and their media allies would engage in this type of character assassination of opponents is not surprising. That Republican leaders would join in the lynching — whether out of cowardice, political expediency, or personal issues with Matt Shea — is despicable.
On December 19, Representative J. T. Wilcox, the Washington State Republican minority leader, called for Shea’s resignation, stating in a tweet: “Rep. Matt Shea has been suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus. He should resign. He cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, his office will be moved.”
Shea, however, is refusing to cave in to the bipartisan bullying. “Like we are seeing with our President this is a sham investigation meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Stand strong fellow Patriots.” Shea added, “I will continue to defend the constitution against tyranny and fight to protect our God given unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the ability to defend the same.”
Article II, Section 9 of the Washington State Constitution provides that each house of the legislature may expel a member by “the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected.” If all 57 of the House Democrats were to vote for expulsion, they would still need at least nine House Republicans to join them, to reach the 66-vote threshold needed to remove Representative Matt Shea from office.
Photo of Rep. Matt Shea at top of article: AP Images
William F. Jasper is senior editor of The New American.
This article originally appeared in the February 3, 2020 print edition of The New American. The New American publishes a print magazine twice a month, covering issues such as politics, money, foreign policy, environment, culture, and technology. To subscribe, click here.