Independent Senate candidate Angus King came under fire Friday for telling MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he would consider forgoing committee assignments to ensure there’s no allegiance to either party, as Republican candidate William Schneider pointed out that much of the Senate’s work happens in committees.

During Thursday night’s television exchange on “Hardball,” Matthews asked if King would give up committee assignments from the major parties to ensure an independent voice. “This is absolutely an option,” King said.

Schneider, one of six Republicans who hope to face King in the general election, attacked the former two-term governor’s remarks, saying that giving up assignments would make King “half of a United States senator.”

“He would be giving up a huge opportunity to represent Maine’s interests with federal agencies and throughout the legislative process. The roads, bridges and destroyers that get built in Maine originate in Senate committees,” Schneider said Friday in a prepared statement.

King, a former Democrat, has been criticized for not saying which party he would caucus with in Washington. He could choose to caucus with either party, or with neither party, he has said.

King said Friday that he won’t be bought by either party with committee assignments.

“I want to maintain my independence as long and as strongly as possible, but I will not do anything to compromise what’s in the best interests of Maine. If that means joining a caucus, so be it, but they will not own my vote,” he said Friday in a statement.