House Speaker Paul Ryan faced Democratic criticism Thursday after choosing not to renew the term of a federal agency head who has helped lead the charge on securing elections from hackers.
Matthew Masterson, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, will depart once the Senate confirms a successor, three people familiar with the situation told POLITICO. His four-year term as a commissioner expired in December, but he has stayed while Ryan contemplated whom to recommend to President Donald Trump as a nominee for the seat.
Security advocates and liberal activists also are worried about the potential impact on this year’s 2018 midterm elections, when intelligence officials have warned Russian hackers will be back in full force.
“This is insanity,” said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, an election security expert who is the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology. “Matt is extremely capable and has been a champion of more secure and better elections the entire time he’s been on the EAC.”