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Republican politician billed $4,700 for olive oil poured on Capitol steps

On the 6th of March, a group of protesters from the Seattle-based Satanic Temple of Washington, many of them wearing black hooded robes, gathered at the Capitol and marched through and around the domed building. According to the permit they received for that gathering, they were performing an “invocation.”


A short time later, the Republican politician Matthew Shea representing the 4th Legislative District in Washington House of Representatives decided to join a Christian group that gathered on the steps in front of the building to pray, sing and blow ceremonial rams horns known as shofars as a counter-demonstration.

The oil was poured onto porous stones that form the steps and sidewalk around the domed structure that houses the Legislature and top executive offices, making it difficult to remove, according to the Department of Enterprise Services, which manages the Capitol grounds and buildings.

Shea received a letter and an invoice from the department’s finance office referring to this issue.

“This invoice to you is generated to recover the full amount of expense incurred to repair the damage caused by olive oil on the Legislative Building Steps on March 6, 2020,” the letter says. “Please send your remittance to the Department of Enterprise Services.”

The North Steps of the building is a frequent location for demonstrations of groups of all sizes and political beliefs.

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