The head of a federal agency who has helped U.S. states protect election systems from possible cyber attacks by Russia or others is being removed from his post by Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House.
Matthew Masterson, currently chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and a former Ohio state official, has been passed over for a second four-year term as one of the agency’s four commissioners, according to sources familiar with the matter.
It is up the House speaker to recommend a nominee for the commissioner post that Masterson currently holds, with the president then making a formal nomination.
Masterson has been a popular figure among state election officials, many of whom have praised his expertise and leadership on cyber security issues and expressed chagrin at his pending departure. The agency was created by Congress in 2002 to assist states in complying with federal election standards.
The action raises fresh questions over the degree to which Republican President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans who control Congress are taking steps to protect the security of American elections, and some state officials have accused them of doing too little to address the threat.
Masterson, a Republican appointee has been completely nonpartisan and professional, and willing to work across the aisle on issues (unlike the other Republican commissioner, Christy McCormick, who was a member of Trump’s now-disbanded sham election fraud commission). His work with Democratic Commissioner Tom Hicks and others is a rare bright spot of bipartisan professional cooperation in an otherwise politicized field. (Here’s an ELB Podcast interview with Masterson and Hicks.)
All in all, this is terrible news if true.
And it suggests he’s being canned because he’s not a party hack.