BOSTON (CBS) – First of all, let’s stipulate – if Boston Mayor Marty Walsh or anyone in his administration engaged in or condoned extortion in connection with city permits, they should be charged, tried, and if convicted, frog-marched off to prison.

But if US Attorney Carmen Ortiz is using the tremendous power of her office to ruin anyone’s reputation without serious evidence to back up her charges, she ought to meet a similar fate.

What’s that, you’re wondering? Isn’t any politician in the crosshairs of law enforcement automatically considered guilty?

Because, after all, aren’t all politicians dirty, like they keep saying on the radio?

Actually, no, they aren’t.

Considering the immense power big time politicians wield over commerce, and the short money they make compared with the businesspeople and lawyers courting their favor, it’s amazing how few cases of extortion, bribery and malfeasance we actually see.

Ortiz is by her own account on a crusade to clean up the dirtier corners of our political culture, and that’s a noble goal – if it’s done with proper regard for truth and process.

But her successful assault on crooked practices in the state’s probation department also managed to smear some people, most notably House Speaker Robert DeLeo, without any evidence or even formal charges.

Sometimes, politicians cross the line, out of greed, ego or both.

Sometimes, prosecutors do the same.

Ortiz had better have her ducks in a row on this Boston City Hall probe.

Because if she doesn’t, it’ll be her, not Walsh, on the hot seat.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Jon Keller


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