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Spokane Valley council to vote on proposal to split Washington

Seattle Post-Intelligencer logo Seattle Post-Intelligencer 12/18/2018 By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI

The city council in Spokane Valley will vote in the new year on a proposal, sponsored by its two local state legislators, to split Washington at the Cascade Crest, and create a new state called "Liberty."

It's the first tiny bit of traction for Liberty, an idea pushed by State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, when he isn't visiting militia encampments or circulating a "Biblical Basis for War" including rules for a "Holy Army."

The city council first wants its staff to evaluate whether Eastern Washington and Spokane receive more money from the state, or whether the Inland Empire puts more than its share into state coffers.

If staff consult figures from the Office of Financial Management, they will find that Western Washington pays the freight with its tax dollars and robust economy. The state of Liberty would embrace most of the state's poorest counties, and areas with the highest percentage of Medicaid and food stamp recipients.

EARLIER: 'Liberty: The 51st State' -- Republicans to hear plan to split Washington

The proposal for a new state is the brainchild of Shea, seatmate Rep. Bob McCaslin, and Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, all conservatives from Eastern Washington.

The House Republican Caucus in the Washington Legislature decided last month to take away Shea's position as Caucus Chair, a job which helps set the party's agenda in Olympia.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, speaks about a proposed amendment to a gay marriage bill Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. Lawmakers are poised to legalize gay marriage in Washington state, which would make it the seventh state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, speaks about a proposed amendment to a gay marriage bill Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, in Olympia, Wash. Lawmakers are poised to legalize gay marriage in Washington state, which would make it the seventh state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The decision came after Shea released a document, Biblical Basis for War, which discussed creation of a "Holy Army" and is, in Shea's words, a "summary of sermons on Biblical war in the Old Testament."

The document depicts the Christian God as "a warrior" and lists as conditions before war is declared, "stop all abortions," "end same-sex marriage," "ban communism," "end idolatry and occultism" and "must obey Biblical law."

a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: State Rep. Matt Shea, urged disobedience with I-594, which requires criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms. © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc State Rep. Matt Shea, urged disobedience with I-594, which requires criminal background checks for those purchasing firearms.

"If they do not yield -- kill all males," goes the document.

Despite these chilling words, Shea has insisted he is not advocating use of violence, and is a victim of "smears and slander, and innuendo and implications."

Shea was reelected to his legislative seat by a 58-42 percent margin last month. Amazingly, while Spokane's Spokesman Review has detailed his activities on the extreme right, the newspaper declined to endorse his opponent.

The Public Disclosure Commission has received a complaint that Shea has channeled surplus campaign funds to what the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as "far right extremist groups" in Colorado and Arizona.

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Shea has given $2,000 to an outfit called "Citizens for Free Speech" in Mesa, Arizona, and $3,500 to the Colorado-based "Americans for America." Neither group is registered as a charity with the state of Washington, a requirement for donation of surplus campaign money.

Shea has also used $12,000 to pay for the American Christian Network for his Patriot Radio show. The network operates six AM and FM radio stations in Eastern Washington.

Shea has taken his campaign for "Liberty" on the road. A speech by Shea, "Liberty: The 51st State" keynoted the Douglas County Lincoln Day dinner last May.

But "Biblical Basis for War" has caused a who's-who of Republican contributors to sever ties with Shea. The list includes the Washington Realtors, the Washington Hospitality Assn., AT&T and even Avista. The big electrical utility is an historic financier of Republican campaigns in the Inland Empire.

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