SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The mayor and police chief of Spokane, Washington, are the latest to demand that a conservative state legislator resign from office after leaked emails revealed he sought to conduct surveillance on local progressive leaders.
Mayor David Condon and Police Chief Craig Meidl on Tuesday denounced state Rep. Matt Shea, a Republican from Spokane Valley who wants to create a 51st state based on Christian principles.
The two joined members of the Spokane City Council along with activist groups and others who have called for Shea's removal from the Legislature.
Shea, who rarely speaks with the media, did not return several messages seeking comment.
The Guardian and The Spokesman-Review newspapers reported last week that Shea has had close ties with a group that claimed to conduct "biblical training on war for young men."
The Spokesman-Review, based on leaked emails and other documents, detailed how Shea compiled dossiers on liberal Spokane City Council members, sought to purchase GPS trackers and kept a list of suspected informants.
The documents also revealed that Shea plotted to establish a provisional government in the event of a U.S. collapse and wanted to "turn back the tide" of Islam in the U.S.
The state House of Representatives has hired an investigator to look into Shea's activities.
"When an elected official's personal actions threaten the public trust in our public institutions and foundational principles, it's time for that person to resign," Condon said. "This is where Rep. Shea finds himself."
The mayor's office is non-partisan in Spokane, but Condon has long been aligned with the GOP.
Meidl said Shea seems to have "an attitude of judge, jury and executioner."
The Spokane Police Guild, the local National Organization for Women and the NAACP have also called for Shea to resign.
Shea has been elected six times since 2008 to represent the conservative 4th Legislative District, which includes the city of Spokane Valley, which is adjacent to larger and more liberal Spokane.
In response to news reports about Shea's participation in a private chat that discussed violence against liberals, the state House recently hired a team of private investigators to examine Shea's activities.
"I expect this investigation to be comprehensive and provide a more complete picture of the allegations that have appeared in news stories to date," House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox of Yelm said in an emailed statement Tuesday.
"However, I want to make it clear that hate — in any form — is contrary to my values and our caucus as a whole," Wilcox wrote. "I condemn those who use threatening rhetoric and advocate for violence. I am also deeply concerned about the allegations of surveillance."
Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com