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Sen. Mike Lee fielded a question during a recent town hall in Sanpete County about the controversy over the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "fast and furious" operation in which agents allowed U.S. guns into the hands of suspects in Mexico they hoped would lead them to big-time weapon traffickers.

Some of those guns eventually were used in crimes, including the murder of a border agent, prompting Congress to investigate.

One of the attendees at Lee's event asked the freshman senator: "What can you do to get these people to fess up about 'fast and furious' and how high it went?"

Lee's response: "OK, let's pretend that one of us doesn't know what 'fast and furious' is."

After an unusually long pause, the attendee sheepishly said, "Would that be you?"

To which Lee said, "Yes, sir."

Laughter filled the room.

After the man outlined the controversy, Lee said he was aware of the circumstances but didn't place the name.

"It goes to show," Lee said, "that government, when it runs amok, can be the cause and source of an untold amount of grief."

Huntsman-linked PAC gets boost in Utah, Texas • A Utah-based political action committee launched by supporters of Jon Huntsman's eventual presidential bid raised and spent $2.1 million in six months in the lead-up to the former Utah governor's announcement.

Not surprisingly, the largest amount of donations from one state came from Utah, $965,225, including contributions from his mom and dad, Karen and Jon Sr., as well as the widow of Larry H. Miller, Gail Miller, and Salt Lake City's Dave Burdett.

The next biggest state for the Huntsman-fan group: Texas, with $566,150.

Thanks to his brother and sister-in-law, Peter and Brynn Huntsman, as well as the development company Trammell Crow and Wayne Reaud, a trial lawyer and member of the Huntsman Corp.'s board of directors.

The new PAC also snagged $501,395 from donors in New York, including the single largest donation to the group — $400,000 — from media tycoon Herbert Siegel and his wife, Jeanne.

In all, the PAC shows that Huntsman's financial Rolodex should be a help as he tries to bring his campaign out of single digits in the polls.

While federal contributions are limited to $2,500, a newly opened Our Destiny PAC, started by some of the same supporters, will be able to draw the unlimited money that they did in Utah.

Topping the conservative charts • Lee is Utah's most conservative member of Congress, according to a new score card by the Heritage Foundation's sister group, Heritage Action. With a 98 percent ranking, the state's freshman GOP senator claimed second place among all members of Congress, right behind Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who voted 99 percent with the nonprofit group.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chimed in at 96 percent, followed closely by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, with 93 percent. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who was dinged for supporting a plan by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to raise the debt limit and support for farm subsidies, came in lowest among Utah's Republicans with 83 percent. Rep. Jim Matheson, the state's lone Democrat in Congress, nabbed 25 percent in the conservative ranking.

The group looked at whether members of Congress cosponsored legislation it was backing, as well as how they stood on key votes for conservative causes or positions.

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Burr and Canham report for The Salt Lake Tribune from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at or or via Twitter @thomaswburr or@mattcanham.