Lots of denials in the Swallow scandal. A 'Book of Mormon' movie on the way. Obama's inauguration is one week away.
Happy Monday. In the latest twists in an alleged bribery scandal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid denies ever participated in a plan to derail an investigation into Jeremy Johnson or iWorks and the U.S. Attorney's Office denied ever agreeing to spare new Utah Attorney General John Swallow for potential prosecution. [Trib]
Topping the news: For those paying catchup, Johnson alleges Swallow helped broker a bribe to Reid that would squash a federal investigation. He was to pay $600,000 through the late Richard Rawls. He did end up paying the first $250,000 but the investigation moved forward and he now faces potential jail time. Read all the interesting details in the Trib's big weekend scoop. [Trib]
-> Utah Democrats are calling for an official federal investigation. An online petition was launched to garner support for an independent, outsider inquiry into the brouhaha. [Trib] [DNews]
-> Swallow emphatically denied the allegations in a series of emails, saying he misjudged Johnson's character. [Trib] [Fox13]
-> Meanwhile, Provo's newspaper urged Swallow to step down. [Herald]
-> Bob Bernick argues that Utah's lax campaign finance laws are at the heart of the Swallow scandal. [UtahPolicy]
Today's news: On the day before he gives President Barack Obama his suggestions to combat gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden meets with a group of House Democrats. [Politico]
-> His inauguration only a week away, leaving political forecasters to wonder if Obama will beat the second-term curse. [Yahoo!News]
-> From old bones to fancy portraits, Betsy Blanchard highlights some Utah specific spots tourists can visit when they come to Washington, D.C. [Trib]
-> A lawsuit alleges an Alta Town councilman should lose his spot because he doesn't live in Alta. [Trib]
-> The Book of Mormon musical may soon be a movie. [NYTimes]
Tweets of the day: From @kingsthings: "Anybody notice how Jon Huntsman is showing up on the Sunday talk shows lately? Something tells me he's gonna be around" [Check sltrib.com later today for Thomas Burr's story on Huntsman's new spot with No Labels.]
Opinion section: Sutherland Institute president Paul Mero calls for the activation of HB 116, a guest worker immigration law. [Trib]
-> A former Utah Democratic Party vice-chair argues that public aims by both parties have costs and require spending, rejecting the Republican slam on Dems that they are the tax-and-spend party. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly calls out state liquor regulators' plan to crack down on businesses just before the Sundance Film Festival brings in thousands of diners and drinkers. [Trib]
-> And Rolly decries police tactics used in the 2009 death of Brian Cardall, and other cases involving the use of force. [Trib]
-> Get ready for a long winter filled with debates about booze, guns and hardliners. [DNews]
-> A former Republican legislator urges lawmakers to accept federal health care funding, providing insurance to 30,000 Utah children. [Trib]
-> Matt Slonaker argues that expanding Medicaid coverage gives Utahns more control over their healthcare decisions. [DNews]
-> An Iraq war veteran says Congress should repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in the name of protecting U.S. citizens, limiting the use of armed drones and preventing the U.S. from falling into an era of military conflict. [Trib]
-> A Southern Utah University professor defends his institution in a plagiarism scandal that broke last year, claiming the issue was not as widespread as the media portrayed. [Trib]
-> A South Ogden child psychologist argues for a holistic approach to resolving school shootings and other gun violence issues. [Trib]
-> Violence is like a virus that requires immediate treatment and early prevention, according to John Florez. [DNews]
-> Barb Guy celebrates five years cancer free. [Trib]
Weekend in review: A conservative group is protesting the state's support of the Sundance Film Festival, citing films they deem "pornographic." [Trib]
-> State Sen. Karen Mayne, a former UTA board member, plans to introduce a bill that would require cars to yield to UTA busses, which she said came as a direct request from bus drivers.
-> Utah's Eagle Forum plans to challenge a bill that would provide state funding for some preschool programs and support a bill that bans abortion based on the fetus' gender. [Trib]
-> In our D.C. Notebook, we highlight all the nasty things that are more popular than Congress. [Trib]
-> Want a tax credit? Hire a homeless person. That's what one Utah lawmaker proposes. [DNews]
-> Freezing some tax rates and exemptions could bring in up to $15 million annually for public schools, according to state Rep. Joel Briscoe. [Trib]
-> Touting her new book, Justice Sonya Sotomayor complains of slow fast food delivery and relishes a good jaywalk like any other New Yorker. [NYTimes]
Where are they?
Utah Governor Gary Herbert has meetings with his Education Excellence commission and the Utah Health Exchange.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker is in Washington, meeting with congressional members and other federal agencies.
WVC Mayor Mike Winder has an interview with the Communities of Distinction project and meets with the West Valley Historical Society.
President Barack Obama has lunch with Vice President Joe Biden, meets with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and gives credentials to new ambassadors who have recently been posted in Washington.
Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]
Matt Canham and Emily Andrews Twitter.com/mattcanham and Twitter.com/emilytandrews