Head of Alaska's campaign finance agency resigns less than 2 months before election

The head of the agency that regulates state legislative candidates and campaign finance laws has resigned, leaving the Alaska Public Offices Commission with a temporary replacement a month before Election Day.

Paul Dauphinais, the executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, quit his job in mid-September. He did not give a reason, said Vance Sanders, the commission's chair.

Dauphinais, who was hired in 2011, left "on great terms," said Sanders. But Sanders, a Juneau attorney, also pointed out that APOC's budget has been cut by one-third in the last two years.

"It's just a difficult working environment," Sanders said in a phone interview Monday. "You just get tired of being tired."

Dauphinais, whose salary was budgeted at $108,000, couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Heather Hebdon, who earlier this year was the commission's campaign disclosure coordinator, has been promoted to acting executive director.

Sanders said that the commission will discuss the hiring of Dauphinais' replacement at its next regular meeting, on Oct. 25. He insisted that the agency would not have any problems overseeing candidates' and political groups' activities in the meantime.

"Heather's very experienced and I'm in the loop, and the other commissioners are staying in the loop," Sanders said. "I think the public should be confident that with the staff we have, and engaged commissioners, we'll be responsive."

Nathaniel Herz

Anchorage-based independent journalist Nathaniel Herz has been a reporter in Alaska for nearly a decade, with stints at the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Public Media. Read his newsletter, Northern Journal, at natherz.substack.com