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News roundup: Feds paid $890,000 for ... nothing

Feds spend $890,000 on ... nothing. Gadfly Zinn arrested. Zuckerberg's group targets Hatch.

Happy Thursday. Last year, the federal government spent $890,000 on nothing. Well, technically, the government paid banks that sum in fees for nearly 14,000 accounts with zero balances, The Washington Post reports. The Obama administration has tried to close some of these accounts with limited success.

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-> The best paragraph from the story: "The Pentagon once paid $435 for a hammer, after all. But at least in that case it got a hammer." [WaPost]

Topping the news: Political gadfly George Zinn was charged with making a terroristic threat for asking Salt Lake Marathon organizers if he could help plant bombs at the race's finish. Zinn says it was a joke. [Trib] [DNews]

-> Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's newly-launched political group is running a blitz of TV ads in Utah, targeting Sen. Orrin Hatch on his stance on immigration. [Trib]

-> An inspector general's report says the IRS issued billions in faulty refunds last year. [WaPost]

Tweet of the day: From @KimJongNumberUn: "My account was hacked. Please disregard my offer of elections and food."

Happy birthday: To former state Rep. David Litvack and Krista Blackett Burr.

Happening today: USU graduate Mike Robins and BYU grad Staci Wheeler,

who worked on President George W. Bush's speechwriting team and helped

pen his memoir, will be on hand in Dallas for the dedication of Bush's

new library and museum.

In other news: Five public lands bills sponsored by Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz passed the House Natural Resources Committee today. [Trib]

-> Gov. Gary Herbert briefly considered a plan to move state employees over to Utah's small business health insurance exchange, although his proposal didn't last long. [Herald]

-> Herbert released a sage grouse protection plan that declares 11 conservation areas over 7.5 million acres that will have development limits. [Trib]

-> The governor, on a trade trip this week, presented gifts to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in separate meetings. [Trib]

-> State Sen. Wayne Harper says he's disappointed in Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee for their apparently opposition to the Marketplace Fairness Act and urges Utahns to call them to press their support. [SenateSite]

-> UTA is patting themselves on the back for being "essentially done" with their rail expansion plan, coming in $40 million under budget and two years before deadline.

[Trib]

-> Salt Lake District Attorney Sim Gill was awarded by a local group for his courage in dismissing 88 cases being investigated by West Valley City's drug squad. [Trib]

-> Seven Utah counties earned 'F' grades from the American Lung Association for air pollution spikes that were among some of the worst in the nation. [Trib] [Herald]

-> Bryan Schott talks with outgoing GOP Chairman Thomas Wright about what he got accomplished, what he regrets and what his successor will face. Podcast: [UtahPolicy] Story: [UtahPolicy].

-> Peg McEntee says that despite all indications of stress, life is pretty swell. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley's take on former President George W. Bush's new presidential library. [Trib]

Nationally: One of newly-minted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell's first moves in her new role will be to convert one-third of the department's vehicle fleet with hybrids, signaling a shift towards greener policies. [WaPost]

-> Although Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, says a new immigration overhaul bill is a lengthy read - even for the Ivy League-educated senator - it's really not much longer than a Harry Potter book. [WaPost]

-> House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says he has some major questions about why the FBI didn't foil the Boston Marathon bombings, despite warnings from Russian authorities about one of the suspects. [Politico]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jim Matheson hits a Health Subcommitte hearing on prescription drug supply chain safety.
  • Rep. Rob Bishop heads to an Armed Services Committee meeting, meets with representatives of the Association of Landscape Architects, Utah Teacher of the Year Sara Hacken, the president of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz hits an Aspen Institute breakfast, has a National Republican Congressional Committee hearing, attends a hearing on government procurement of ammunition and meets with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart chairs an Environment Subcommittee hearing, meets with the Mortgage Bankers Association and has a Science, Space and Technology Committee mark up.
  • Utah AG John Swallow is in Oklahoma City for the National Association of Attorneys General Midwestern States conference.
  • SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams has a countywide communications team meeting, a conference of mayors meeting and a Wasatch Front Regional Council Executive Committee meeting.
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker hits the Capital City Education Convention, meets with other Salt Lake Valley mayors, has a Wasatch Front Regional Council meeting, meets with Wasatch Cooperative Market Development Coordinator Barbara Pioli and with Ideal Solutions President and CEO Chris Bijou.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder meets with UTA's board of directors.
  • President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication of the Bush presidential library and then heads to a memorial service in West, Texas, for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion. The president returns to Washington in the evening.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Emily Andrews

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/emilytandrews



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