If you're having breakfast this week, it's OK to really dig in – there are no calories until Jan. 2.
1) Who gets to crack open the books at the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County? County Controller Chelsa Wagner says that audit is part of her job, and Pittsburgh Deputy Controller Doug Anderson said Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak asked him to start on an audit early next year. But the SEA says only the state attorney general's office – an office that apparently employs exactly zero auditors, our Molly Born reports – can open an audit on the authority. The SEA has challenged Ms. Wagner's request and Allegheny County – you may recall that Ms. Wagner and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald aren't exactly fans of each other – has also contested the request. Here's a prediction for 2015: this question will be answered by a judge before the weather thaws in the spring.
2) Hillary Clinton has topped an annual Gallup poll of the planet's most admired women, Politico reports. Does the fact that the likely Democratic presidential candidate was the only woman in the poll with a double-digit response rate bode well for 2016? It doesn't hurt, sure, but keep this in mind – this is the 19th time she's led the list.
3) Justice Correale Stevens, the judge who was appointed to the state Supreme Court to replace Joan Orie Melvin – who, as far as we know, still isn't especially sorry about her conviction on corruption charges – will run for a full term on the court, Politics PA reports. The seat Justice Stevens holds is one of three that will be available in 2015; the others are held by retiring Chief Justice Ronald Castille and by Justice Seamus McCaffery, who resigned after his involvement with the state's porn email scandal was revealed.
4) There were a couple of instances last few days where we pointed you towards parts of an excellent series on legislative ethics – an oxymoron if we've ever heard one – by PG reporter Joe Smydo. We're going to do that one more time, because we've assembled all the pieces – including the interactive that shows the outside interests of our legislators – of the series on a single page, all the better for your reading pleasure.
5) Tis the season for year-ending, best-of lists, and Early Returns won't be left out of the fun. Coming on Tuesday: a countdown of the most-popular Early Returns posts from 2014, as determined by you, our ER readers, and your clicking fingers. Got a guess as to what post might top the list? We'd love to see it in the comments.