Jim Camden a political reporter for The Spokesman-Review, Spoken, Washington reported Tuesday that the FBI is investigating state Rep. Matt Shea regarding his role during several armed standoffs with federal agents over the past several years.
According to Camden the disclosure came from the state bar association, which is deferring a request for its own possible action against Shea based on a complaint by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich.
“The FBI is the appropriate agency to investigate allegations of domestic terrorism,” Kathy Jo Blake, the bar association’s managing disciplinary counsel, wrote in a recent letter to Knezovich and his attorney, Mike McKay. “Accordingly, (the Office of Disciplinary Counsel) has decided to defer investigation of this grievance pending the outcome of the FBI’s criminal investigation.”
Camden reported that the complaint cites instances in the state House of Representatives report from an independent investigator that raised questions about Shea’s involvement in the standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management; the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon by his son Ammon Bundy and others; and a confrontation in Idaho between the Veterans Affairs Administration and supporters of a disabled veteran being told he had to surrender his firearms.
Camden points out that Legislative leaders said they would send the report by the Rampart Group to federal authorities, but Knezovich said Tuesday he hadn’t been informed of an ongoing investigation.
The complaint cites a protest in Spokane on April 22 demonstrating against Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order and a May 1 march from the Spokane County Courthouse to Spokane City Hall in which Shea and other protesters – some of them armed – did not wear face masks or observe social distancing requirements.
“At both events, Shea committed gross misdemeanors by knowingly violating the governor’s orders and putting countless citizens at risk of exposure to COVID-19,” the complaint alleges.