Matt Shea

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Matt Shea
Matt Shea.jpg
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the Position 2, 4th legislative district
Assumed office
January 12, 2009 (2009-01-12)
Preceded byLynn Schindler
Personal details
BornMatthew Thomas Shea
(1974-04-18) April 18, 1974 (age 44)
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Lisa (Jenn) Shea (2002-2008)
Viktoriya (Vinnikova) Shea (2008-present)
ResidenceSpokane Valley, Washington
Alma materGonzaga University (B.A.)
Gonzaga University (J.D.)
AwardsBronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal (2)
Army Achievement Medal (4)
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
NATO Medal
Order of the Spur
Order of Saint Maurice
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Seal of the United States Army National Guard.svg Washington Army National Guard
Years of service1996–2000
RankUS military captain's rank.gif Captain
Battles/warsBosnian War
Iraq War

Matthew Thomas Shea (born April 18, 1974) is an American politician of the Republican Party. He is a member of the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 4th Legislative District.

In October 2018 Shea acknowledged that he had distributed a four page manifesto linked to the racist, anti-semitic, white supremacist Christian Identity movement, which called for the killing of non-Christian males if they do not follow fundamentalist biblical law.[1][2] Shea was referred to the FBI for investigation as a result.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Shea graduated from high school in Bellingham before receiving a bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University in 1996 and a law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2006.[4]

Military career[edit]

In 1996, Shea entered the U.S. Army as a lieutenant, spending four and a half years in the service; he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina for eight months. During the Iraq War, Shea was deployed as a captain in the Army and Army National Guard.[4]

Political career[edit]

Shea was first elected to office in 2008.[5] He was re-elected in 2012,[6] in 2014,[7] and in 2016.[8]

Shea hosts Patriot Radio, a twice-weekly show broadcast on the American Christian Network (ACN)[9]

Shea endorsed Ron Paul during the 2012 Republican presidential primaries.[10]

Shea was a co-founder and director of the Washington Family Foundation, a socially conservative advocacy group.[11] He was also a board member of the anti-same-sex marriage group Protect Marriage Washington, and during his first time in office introduced legislation seeking to block the recognition of same-sex marriage in Washington.[12]

Shea is a founding member and current chairman of the Coalition of Western States (COWS).[13] In an interview, Shea stated that COWS' goals are to "facilitate the transfer of public lands back to the state level, and to have the states and counties manage the land".[14] During the 2014 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Shea and other COWS members traveled to Burns, Oregon, allegedly attempting to negotiate on behalf of the militants occupying the reserve.[15] In 2015, Shea supported Idaho Representative Heather Scott, a fellow COWS member, in a protest near the home of John Arnold. Arnold had received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) stating the VA had found him mentally incompetent, and protesters worried that his right to own firearms may have been impacted by the VA's findings.[16]

Shea organized the Spokane chapter of ACT! for America, anti-Muslim organization designated as a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center.[17][18]


Shea has been the focus of news articles related to angry outbursts at his legislative office, and a report claiming that he was disarmed by a commander while he served in Iraq due to anger management issues.[19]

Differences between Shea and Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich resulted in Shea stating "the Southern Poverty Law Center — and the sheriff (Knezovich) that backs them — is the most dangerous organization in this country".[20]

Shea has frequently clashed with journalists, referring to reporters as "those dirty, godless, hateful people" in an August 2018 gun-rights rally.[21] Shea's contentious history with the press attracted particular attention because he is one of eight state legislators on a Washington Legislature task force dealing with state public records laws and exemptions to them.[21]

"Biblical Basis for War" manifesto[edit]

In late October 2018, Shea acknowledged that he had distributed a document described as a "four-page manifesto" titled Biblical Basis for War that listed strategies that a "Holy Army" could employ. The document, consisting of 14 sections divided into bullet points, condemned same-sex marriage and abortion, and a section regarding "rules of war" included a notation to "kill all males" who failed to yield. Shea claimed the manifesto was a summary of "biblical sermons on war."[1][2] Spokane County Sheriff Knezovich alerted the FBI to the manifesto and claimed that the statements made in the manifesto are consistent with a racist, anti-Semitic, and white supremacist ideology known as Christian Identity, which seeks to establish a "white homeland" in the US northwest.[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Shea was divorced from his first wife in January 2008.[11] Lisa Shea was granted a protective order by a court after filing court documents complaining that Shea treated her "as a possession," and was physically and emotionally abusive. She attested that Shea "insisted she walk on his left side because his sword, if he had one, would be on his right side," and protested that he would not seek profitable employment despite being a lawyer.[11] Shea denied any physical abuse.[11] Matt Shea subsequently remarried.[4]

In November 2011, Shea allegedly "pulled a gun during a confrontation with another motorist" in what police reports described as an incident of road rage.[22] Shea was initially charged with possessing a loaded handgun in a vehicle without a concealed weapons permit; the charge was ultimately resolved under a "stipulated order of continuance," in which "Shea paid a $75 fee and agreed that the information in the police report is correct" and the charge was dismissed after the passage of one year with no criminal violations.[22]


  1. ^ a b "Washington State Lawmaker's 'Holy Army' Manifesto Prompts FBI Scrutiny". The Daily Beast. November 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  2. ^ a b c Sokol, Chad (November 2, 2018). "Washington state lawmaker Matt Shea defends advocacy for 'Holy Army' as Spokane sheriff refers his writings to FBI". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  3. ^ a b "Lawmaker Says He Distributed 'Biblical Basis for War' Paper". U.S. News & World Report. AP. November 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  4. ^ a b c Election Center: Matt Shea, Spokesman-Review.
  5. ^ "2009 Cappys honor legislators and unforgettable moments |". 2009-04-25. Retrieved 2018-05-13.
  6. ^ "Legislative District 04". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  7. ^ "Spokane County November 4, 2014 General Election". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  8. ^ "November 8, 2016 General Election Results - Legislative District 4 - State Representative Pos. 1 County Breakdown". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  9. ^ "American Christian Network". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  10. ^ "Ron Paul: Press Release - Ron Paul Endorsed By Washington State Rep. Matt Shea". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  11. ^ a b c d John Craig, Divorced candidate promotes family values, July 31, 2008.
  12. ^ Dominic Holden, Know Thy Enemy: Meet the Four Men Most Obsessed with Stopping Gay Marriage in Washington State, The Stranger (June 4, 2009).
  13. ^ "Home - Coalition of Western States". Coalition of Western States. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  14. ^ "Coalition Of Western States forms to Protect Against Federal Overreach | Radio Free Redoubt". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  15. ^ Sepulvado, John. "Republican Politicians Planned And Participated In Key Aspects Of Refuge Occupation". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  16. ^ "Vet fights for gun rights". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  17. ^ "Washington state lawmaker under fire for biblical war 'manifesto'". KIRO-FM. November 2, 2018.
  18. ^ Leah Sottile, Something's Brewing in the Deep Red West, Rolling Stone (October 23, 2018).
  19. ^ "McCaslin blasts Shea as possible successor for state Senate seat". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  20. ^ Walters, Daniel. "Manufacturing Fear". Inlander. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  21. ^ a b Joseph O'Sullivan (August 20, 2018). "Washington lawmaker on public-records task force calls journalists 'those dirty, godless, hateful people'". The Seattle Times.
  22. ^ a b "Legislator pulled gun during road incident". Retrieved 2017-01-17.