Over the weekend, Washington State Representative Matt Shea participated in the controversial “New Code of the West” conference in Whitefish, Montana. The conference was hosted by “This West is OUR West,” a group focused on limiting federal land management and, according to the group’s website, preventing “Greenies, Globalists and bureaucratic agencies” from coming after “our land and water in the Western States.”
The Montana Human Rights Network says the group “espouses an ideology at the nexus of the anti-government, anti-Indian, and anti-environmental movements” and describes the conference as “an array of extremist conspiracy theories that trace back to the militia movement of the 1990s.”
Shea, who represents the 4th LD covering the greater Spokane Valley, is the Caucus Chair of the House Republican Caucus. The Guardian reports that Shea delivered a presentation at the conference where he claimed a mosque in Spokane was owned by the Muslim Brotherhood, connected the Council of American-Islamic Relations to Hamas, associated the grassroots organization “Indivisible” with communism, and called for the management of public lands to be given back to the states.
During the event, speakers also openly criticized the media. In August, Shea faced backlash after describing journalists as “dirty, godless, hateful people.”
Other speakers at the event include Ammon Bundy, leader of the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Elaine Willman, Board member of the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance, and Dan Happel who serves on the Leadership Council for Freedom Force International.
Conservation groups and human rights advocates organized a counter rally to protest the conference.