Emails show Washington state lawmaker tied to group training for holy war
SPOKANE, Wash. — Newly leaked emails show that conservative state Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley, has had close ties with a group that trained children and young men for religious combat.
The Spokesman-Review newspaper reported that the emails were first revealed in The Guardian on Wednesday, while Shea’s ties with Team Rugged were revealed in a video on Shea’s public Facebook page.
Shea did not return messages from The Spokesman-Review.
The materials have been turned over to a team of private investigators hired by the state House of Representatives to determine whether Shea has promoted political violence. The team will produce a preliminary report by Sept. 30 and a final report to the House by Dec. 1.
“The entire purpose behind Team Rugged is to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men,” a man identified as the group’s leader, Patrick Caughran, wrote in a July 2016 email to Shea. “Everything about it is both politically incorrect and what would be considered shocking truth to most modern christians. There will be scenarios where every participant will have to fight against one of the most barbaric enemies that are invading our country, Muslims terrorists.”
The texts came after Shea, a lawyer who was first elected to the House in 2008, attracted international attention after a document he wrote laid out a “biblical basis for war” against people who practiced same-sex marriage and abortion. He later said that the document was taken out of context.