White House, Dems push back in Benghazi probes. 62% of Shurtleff donors tied to controversial industries. Special counsel to investigate Swallow.
Happy Monday. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says it was former presidential candidate Mitt Romney that started the GOP's politicization of the Benghazi terrorist attack and charges Republicans just want to fan the flames instead of look at how things have changed since. [TPM] [Time]
-> Meanwhile, continuing the push back, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin says Republicans real goal in looking at Benghazi is Hillary Clinton. [WaPost]
-> Finally, in a shocking twist, liberal Maureen Dowd goes after the administration, saying its behavior before, during and after the attack was unfit for the greatest country on Earth. [NYTimes]
Topping the news: An analysis of donations to former AG Mark Shurtleff's election campaigns shows 62 percent of them came from people tied to payday lenders, multilevel marketing, online marketing or alarm companies, all of which have come under regulatory scrutiny. [Trib]
-> Payday lenders, too, contributed $126,000 to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoping he might help cover their industry, but Reid supported a new federal agency tasked with cracking down on abuses. [Trib]
-> Lt. Gov. Greg Bell will appoint a special counsel to investigate alleged ethics violations by AG John Swallow. [Trib] [DNews] [APviaHerald] [ABC4]
Tweet of the day: From @kesgardner: "Heh. RT @radleybalko: Those Tea Partiers sure were nutty, what with all that paranoia about the threat of big government abusing its power."
Opinion section: The Tribune editorial board goes after Gov. Gary Herbert for his deal with the federal government that leaves the state running its "toy health insurance marketplace." [Trib]
-> Pat Bagley offers his take on the ongoing saga over the Swallow and Mark Shurtleff investigations. [Trib]
-> Rep. Jason Chaffetz says the Obama administration has a lot of explaining to do on the Benghazi terrorist attack after witnesses sharply contradicted what the White House said following the incident. [CNN]
-> Tribune Deputy Editor Tim Fitzpatrick explains why the newspaper is not naming the 17-year-old suspect in the punching death of the soccer referee. [Trib]
-> LaVarr Webb and Frank Pignanelli discuss what they and other Utah politicos think of Utah's junior senator. [DNews]
In other news: Sen. Orrin Hatch is demanding more answers after the IRS fessed up to targeting tea party groups during the 2012 election cycle. [Trib] [Reuters]
-> Is UTA's investment in garages around TRAX stations smart or a waste of money for the transit agency? [Trib]
-> A rash of banned weapons have been found at SLC International Airport recently. [Trib]
-> Ogden and Provo's airport towers will not be closed as initially feared under sequestration cuts. [Trib]
-> Smog isn't just a problem for urban areas in Utah anymore as pollution is found in high levels in some rural areas, too. [Trib]
-> A fallen Utah police officer will be honored in Washington this week during National Police Week. [Trib]
-> A 90-year-old woman who came through Ellis Island and now lives in Ogden has found herself in immigration limbo after trying to secure her Utah ID card. [Trib]
-> Sen. Mike Lee wants to exempt households that hire a maid or gardener won't have to worry about violating federal immigration law if that person turns up to be in the country illegally. [WaPost]
-> Gov. Gary Herbert says "we held our ground" against the feds in establishing the first bifurcated health care exchange system. [DNews]
-> Utah is one of the top 10 federal districts for immigration-related charges, the AP finds. [AP]
Nationally: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is asking industry executives for donations to help pay for implementation of the Affordable Care Act prompting Sen. Hatch to call it inappropriate and ask the administration for answers. [WaPost]
-> For the past two years, IRS officials gave special scrutiny to groups questioning how the country is headed or focusing on the tea party or the Constitution, an inspector general's report shows, adding intense fuel for critics of the Obama administration. [WaPost]
-> Several countries are joining the lobbying effort on immigration reform to secure more visas for their citizens. [NYTimes]
Where are they?
Gov. Gary Herbert films a video for a tourism conference, hits the Department of Financial Institutions Centennial Celebration, attends the 10-year Energy Vision review and later heads to New Orleans for the Republican Governors Association meeting.
SL Co. Mayor Ben McAdams holds a Cabinet meeting, attends a Downtown Alliance board meeting and speaks at a community open house for the county's Aging Services and later drops by the Access Wasatch executive committee meeting.
President Barack Obama welcomes Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House and later heads to New York City for a Democratic fundraisers at the Waldorf Astoria. The president returns to Washington in the evening.
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