‘The Rundown’: More Cox campaign scandal fallout

Former campaign manager loses lobbying clients after sexual misconduct allegations

"The Rundown" logo

Good Tuesday morning Utah! Thanks for reading “The Rundown”.

📬 I love, love, love getting messages from readers. Send me an email or find me on Twitter @SchottHappens.

Get this newsletter delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. Sign up for free here.

More Cox campaign scandal fallout

The repercussions from the sexual misconduct allegations against Austin Cox, the former campaign manager for Gov. Spencer Cox, continue.

Last week, Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said on Twitter that an independent investigation had substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct and “previously unreported hostile conduct” toward other workers on Cox’s campaign.

There was much chatter in Utah political circles about Austin Cox joining Foxley and Pignanelli’s government relations shop as a lobbyist. It turns out, that was something very much in the works.

“Austin had his list of clients, and we started working with him on a probationary basis in September,” Frank Pignanelli said.

After the allegations and investigation came to light, Pignanelli says the contract with Cox was terminated.

“We were surprised to see that statement from the governor,” Pignanelli added.

Cox, through his lawyer, has denied the allegations leveled against him. He did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the state lobbyist disclosure website, Cox represented several groups, including Google, ViacomCBS, and Your Employment Solutions. Those associations ended as of October 9.

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning

💉 No mandates. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order banning all COVID-19 vaccine mandates, including for private businesses. [WaPo]

🏛 Debit limit vote. Members of the House are returning to Washington to approve the temporary suspension of the debt ceiling passed by the Senate last week. [AP]

🪧 If candidates want to put campaign signs on University Place mall property in Orem, they must sign an agreement with the property owners pledging to support their goal of continued development on the site. [Tribune]

➡️ Robert Gehrke says there are three steps officials must take immediately now that President Joe Biden has restored two national monuments in Utah. [Tribune]

⛽️ Energy prices soar. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing as demand is vastly outpacing supply. The price per gallon has nearly doubled since April of 2020. [CNN]

💵 Banks rattled. Banks and customers are unhappy with the Biden administration’s plan to have banks report more information about customers to crack down on tax cheats. [NYT]

💻 Another Facebook whistleblower. Data scientist Sophie Zhang says she felt like she had “blood on her hands” after working at Facebook. She says she’s willing to tell Congress what she knows. [CNN]

🚨 Climate change impacting the globe. A study concludes at least 85% of the world’s population has experienced weather events made worse by climate change. [WaPo]

  • There have been 18 weather incidents in the U.S. this year that have cost at least $1 billion each. [WaPo]

✈️ Southwest disruptions. Experts say there’s no evidence linking the cancellation of hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights and a protest over the company’s vaccine mandate for employees. [Insider]

🚀 Toxic environment inside Blue Origin. Documents describe dysfunction, low morale, and high turnover inside Jeff Bezos’ space company. One employee called it an “authoritarian bro culture.” [WaPo]

💻 Cybersecurity warning. A top Pentagon official has resigned, saying U.S. cybersecurity is no match for China. “We have no fighting chance against China in fifteen to twenty years,” he said. [Insider]

🗳 Two election workers in Georgia were fired after co-workers allegedly caught them destroying hundreds of voter registration forms. [The Hill]

🏈 Gruden gone. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned suddenly after emails where he used misogynistic, racist, and homophobic language came to light. [NYT]

❗️ Superman’s same-sex relationship. In a new comic book series, Jonathan Kent (the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane) will begin a romantic relationship with a male friend. [NYT]

Tuesday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, native Utahns call for recognition. [Tribune]

  • ‘He was a light’: Kyle Whittingham and the Utes say goodbye to Aaron Lowe at Texas funeral. [Tribune]

  • Why 19 Utah police officers, including a former chief, were disciplines by oversight council. [Deseret News]

  • Utah Inland Port Authority votes for $150M bond for project. [Fox 13]

  • Utah man worried about wife, children stuck in Afghanistan. [KUTV]


  • Found your snow shovels yet? We may need them this week. [Tribune]


  • Environmentalists secure water rights for Great Salt Lake. [Tribune]


  • Police officers need help to stay physically, mentally well. [Deseret News]

  • A gondola up Little Cottonwood makes more sense. [Deseret News]