Ryan Removes Head Of Commission Tasked With Preventing Cyber Attacks

Heather Reed/Office of the Speaker of the House

Matthew Masterson was appointed by former Speaker of the House John Boehner and was universally respected.

In a move that some see as further proof of Republican dereliction of duty regarding the protection of election integrity, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has opted to replace the official currently in charge of helping states protect their election systems against cyberattacks.

The commissioner post is chosen by the House speaker, nominated by the president, and confirmed by the Senate. A replacement has not yet been determined.

Matthew Masterson, a member of the US Election Assistance Commission who serves as its chairman, has been passed over for a second four-year term as one of the agency's four commissioners.

"The appointment expired in December and we are going in a different direction for our nomination. We nominate people for a variety of positions and generally speaking choose our own folks," AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said by email on Thursday.

Masterson has been commended for his work on the commission and is generally popular among state election officials, making it less clear why he would be swapped out for someone new.

The action raises fresh questions over the degree to which 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.