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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Documents from Shea investigation show detailed plans for action

Republican Rep. Matt Shea speaks at a gun-rights rally Jan. 17 in Olympia, Wash. (Rachel La Corte / AP)

OLYMPIA – Spokane Valley Rep. Matt Shea laid out detailed plans to prepare for dramatic “government escalation” at an Oregon standoff and to protect the ability of a Priest River, Idaho, veteran to keep his guns, documents released Tuesday by the House leaders indicate.

The documents – some 500 pages of emails, plans, online chats, law enforcement charts and social media posts – provided the background for an independent investigator’s report that alleges Shea may have been involved in domestic terrorism. They also contain an array of other information, much of it previously reported, including a restraining order after a contentious divorce from his first wife and a police report of his involvement in an alleged road-rage incident.

Versions of the documents, many of them redacted to black out names and other identifying information, were posted on a special website available to legislators and the public.

House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said the documents will allow legislators to see the basis for that report as the House decides what steps, if any, it will take. Some Republican legislators have criticized the conclusions of the report without seeing the information it was based on, she said.

“Now you can know the details. Where are you at?” Jinkins said Tuesday evening.

Shea’s plans included exposing the federal government as tyrants, swaying public opinion and rallying others to a conservative patriot movement.

While she currently supports expulsion for Shea, Jinkins said she doesn’t think the House should take the limited time in the 2020 session to move for expulsion if that action doesn’t have at least some Republican support because it would require a two-thirds majority.

In a post on his Facebook page, Shea contended the documents raise more questions than they answer.

“In fact, many of the exhibits are merely biased left wing opinion pieces,” he said. “The more the facts come out on this, the more it is clear this was a political hit job/label lynching paid for by us taxpayers.”

Some of the documents, however, are attributed to Shea, who was part of a group that visited the 2014 standoff at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy, helped lead a delegation to Oregon during the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and called supporters to Priest River in 2015 to help a disabled veteran keep his firearms.

For Malheur, the exhibits include “Operation Cold Reality,” which called for sending a negotiating team to Burns, Oregon, to negotiate a peaceful resolution and “re-establish legitimate Patriot leadership over the movement. Force the (Bureau of Land Management) to address its utter failure as an agency and embolden people at the state and local level to reclaim ground for liberty.”

Shea was part of a group of state and local officials who made the trip to the area and met with the county sheriff during the occupation, but were unable to negotiate a resolution.

To help the Priest River veteran who was facing the loss of his firearms because of a disability, a document attributed to Shea describes “Operation Armed Backyard.”

The strategy for the operation included exposing government officials as tyrants by making them act like tyrants, going on a media, government and court offensive, swaying public opinion and getting other states to join the fight. The plan calls for setting up communication systems and resupply lines, identifying “Patriot aircraft” and establishing an evacuation route.

The documents on the website also include the previously reported Biblical Basis for War, a document that lays out a strategy with requirements that peace be negotiated on terms that don’t allow abortion, same sex-marriage or communism and requires Biblical law be obeyed. If an enemy yields, they must pay a share of their work or taxes. If they don’t yield “kill all the males.”

Shea has described it as notes for a scholarly sermon on war in the Old Testament.

On Facebook, Shea said he is “engaging in independent review of the investigator and the investigation.”

Jinkins said Tuesday evening she hasn’t read all of the documents and wants to give other members time to do that also. She hopes to talk with the House Democratic Caucus sometime next week about steps, if any, to take next.