The Huffington Post is being scrutinized for defending two Boston officials Wednesday who were arrested in a union extortion investigation.
Federal officials have been investigating city officials for allegedly withholding city permits unless Boston Calling hired union stagehands for its music festival. Boston Mayoral Aide Kenneth Brissette was arrested May 19 in connection to the alleged extortion. Timothy Sullivan became the second city official to get arrested June 29 in connection to the federal investigation.
The Huffington Post bashed Federal Prosecutor Carmen Ortiz for being motivated with targeting progressives. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has denied involvement while federal officials investigate his administration. Walsh’s Chief of Staff Daniel Koh once worked for the publication and its founder, Arianna Huffington, the Boston Herald found.
“That argument might surprise many people in Boston, a heavily unionized city where organized labor’s role in municipal decision-making is often mandated by law,” Huffington Post reporters Daniel Marans and Ryan Grim wrote. “Those alleged misdeeds seemingly worthy of prosecution are not the acts of hardened criminals, but were committed in the pursuit of progressive social goals.”
Grim argued he was not motivated by any connection his publication has with the mayor, but rather his own interest in Ortiz.
Ortiz was also criticized in the article for targeting other progressive activists in the past with minor allegations. Political activist Aaron Swartz, for instance, killed himself after getting a federal indictment for data theft in 2011.
“I always have my antenna up for Ortiz-related things after Swartz, and so I looked at it and I read the indictment and I read coverage of it and thought, ‘What?’” Grim told the Boston Herald. “It reminded me of the Swartz case, of building a mountain out of nothing.”
The article details that city law practically requires the city to seek union input for projects. The city has an employment commission which must include union representatives, and has a prevailing wage law which requires temporary city projects to pay workers at a rate established by unions. The article also notes unions help uphold safety standards, which is good for concerts.
The Huffington Post did not respond to requests for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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