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.”
William F. Jasper
Label-lynching Matt Shea
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, organizations 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 organized 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.)
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