GOP leaves Huntsman off 2016 straw poll. Investigator compares Swallow to Nixon. Congress' budget deal could cost Utah counties $35M.
Happy Wednesday. The Republican National Committee is holding a straw poll to ask who their supporters would like to see as the GOP nominee in 2016. There are 32 options, ranging from New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte to New York Rep. Peter King to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. One Republican not mentioned: Jon Huntsman. Whether the GOP forgot about Huntsman or purposefully left him out is anybody's guess. [GOP.com]
Topping the news: An investigator for the Lieutenant Governor's Office compared former AG John Swallow to Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. [Trib] [Fox13] [ABC4] [UtahPolicy] You can watch Swallow testify in video clips released by the LG's Office. [Trib]
-> The cost of the House investigation of Swallow has already exceeded an estimated $3 million and is still rising. [DNews]
-> Congress' new spending plan would cut $35 million in payments to Utah counties with federal lands, though Utah's lawmakers are trying to find another avenue to keep the money flowing. [Trib] [KUER]
-> The documentarian whose film Mitt will be shown at Sundance says that he doesn't try to answer questions in the flick only show what it would have been like as a fly on the wall in Romney's two runs for president. [DNews] [ParkRecord]
Tweet of the day: From @FunSkipBayless: "REPORT: Miami Heat visit White House. Obama fouled out midway through introduction for being too close to LeBron."
Happy Birthday: To former state Rep. Steven Mascaro.
Spotted: Newly elected Utah Rep. Robert Spendlove accompanying Gov. Gary Herbert to the White House on Tuesday; he said he was just volunteering his time to help the guv. Spendlove has left his position as the state's lobbyist in Washington.
In other news: Former AG Mark Shurtleff's alleged "fixer" is out on bail. [DNews]
-> SL Co Mayor Ben McAdams outlined initiatives for education, economic development and improving services in his State of the County address. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4] [KUER] [UtahPolicy] McAdams talks about making education his No. 1 priority. [UtahPolicy]
-> The ACLU is moving forward with a lawsuit on behalf of same-sex couples married in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay. [Fox13]
-> Mormons who support the right for same-sex marriages are likely to still be able to get a temple recommend. [Trib]
-> The BLM approved a cyanide heap-leach mine in southwestern Tooele County. Goshute officials say the BLM did not properly consider the tribal interests in wildlife, ground water and cultural resources in the area. [Trib]
-> The Western Energy Alliance is appealing the BLM's ruling to pull 57 parcels around Utah's San Rafael Swell from an oil and gas lease sale. [Trib]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch says its inappropriate for the Justice Department to say its not filing any charges in the IRS audit scandal because the investigation isn't finished. [WaPost]
-> Gov. Herbert and five other governors met with President Barack Obama and discussed issues such as energy, public lands and healthcare. Same-sex marriage did not come up. [DNews]
-> Supporters of same-sex marriage delivered a petition to AG Sean Reyes requesting the state stop fighting Judge Robert Shelby's ruling that overturned a ban on gay marriage in Utah. [Trib]
-> The executive director of Utah Clean Cities said at the Idle Free Fleets Conference that people shouldn't be be afraid to give friendly reminders to strangers who are idling their cars. [DNews]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on just what really drives the Internet. [Trib]
->Watch members of Congress read the nasty tweets they receive. It's a rip off of a Jimmy Kimmel skit and it is hilarious. This video includes a chipper Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, smiling big as he says: "@jasoninthehouse: you are proof this nation has gone to hell in a handbasket." [NowThisNews]
Nationally: A federal judge struck down Oklahoma's same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional. The judge stayed the decision, though, and no same-sex marriages will take place. [Oklahoman] [Trib] [Fox13] [WaPost]
-> New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said the George Washington Bridge scandal will not get in the way of his agenda in his State of the State address. [BergenRecord] Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said there may be more to the scandal while Herbert said he still backs Christie as head of the Republican Governors Association. [Trib]
-> The NSA has planted software on almost 100,000 computers that allows the agency not only to conduct surveillance but also modify files even when the computers are not connected to the internet. [NYTimes]
-> Obama said he will use executive authority, as well as mobilize corporations and non-profit groups, to advance his agenda in the face of an uncooperative congress. [WaPost]
-> Two bills to extend emergency unemployment benefits fail in the Senate. [Politico]
-> Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., is the third Democrat from a swing district to announce his retirement, following Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah. [WaPost]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Topher Webb
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