The One O’Clock Review Of The News

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TRENTON — In a sudden reversal, the New Jersey Government Records Council has decided the documents detailing Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno’s role in a $245,000 pension scandal are too hot for the agency to handle.

The GRC voted unanimously Tuesday to quit the case and not review the records it twice ordered the State Treasury to submit for inspection. Instead, the matter will be sent to an administrative law unit in Gov. Chris Christie’s executive branch for a decision, a process likely to take months.

Despite a victory in Appellate Court last month, the Council lost its will to pursue a complaint likely to embarrass or implicate Guadagno, who will remain as Christie’s running mate for the 2013 gubernatorial election.

“Because of the nature of the subject of this complaint, this complaint should be referred to the Office of Administrative Law…” according to a draft of the GRC staff recommendation released just before the meeting.  Click here to continue to reading this story.

Panel Assails Role of State Department in Benghazi Attack

WASHINGTON — An independent inquiry into the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11 sharply criticized the State Department for a lack of seasoned security personnel and for relying on untested local militias to safeguard the compound, according to a report by the panel made public on Tuesday night.

The investigation into the attack on the diplomatic mission and the C.I.A. annex in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans also faulted State Department officials in Washington for ignoring requests from the American Embassy in Tripoli for more guards for the mission and for failing to make sufficient safety upgrades.  Click here to continue reading this story.

New GOP polling firm goal: Catch up with Dems

The Republican polling community is about to get a shake-up.

With the GOP still reeling from its defeats in the 2012 election, a new Republican polling firm is seeking to help the party bounce back with a fresh stream of data on the state of the electorate.

The outfit, Harper Polling, launches this week with the goal of putting the party on parity with Democrats in the field of IVR polling — a term that stands for interactive voice response polling, commonly known as “robo-polling.”For several cycles now, Democrats have benefited from a high-volume, relatively inexpensive flow of survey data from the company Public Policy Polling, which takes hundreds of polls in any given cycle checking up on individual races and national issue debates. Some of those surveys are released to the public, while others are conducted for private purposes by Democratic campaigns and interest groups.  Click here to continue reading this story.

Health Exchanges: Can They Be Ready by 2014?

The idea of a health insurance exchange as laid out in President Barack Obama’s signature law seems straightforward: an online marketplace where people will shop for private health insurance, like buying an airline ticket or a hotel room. But making sure exchanges in every state are ready for business by the law’s deadline of 2014 has been anything but easy given the legal, technical and political questions surrounding them.

States had until Dec. 14 to tell the Obama administration whether they would be building their own exchanges. The answer was yes for 18 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining states, most led by Republican governors, will either have their exchanges run by the Department of Health and Human Services or take part in federal-state partnerships. One of the 18, Utah, is trying to gain permission to keep its current exchange even though it doesn’t conform to the federal law.  Click here to continue reading this story.

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