There are so many subpoenas floating around Washington these days you could almost walk across the Potomac without getting your feet wet. What seems to be happening is an investigative technique titled: Throw it up against the wall and see what sticks.

Anyone who has conducted investigations will tell you using this technique has a downside; those against whom nothing sticks can be ruined socially and financially … lawyers cost lots of money. Their reputations and that of their families can be destroyed and it may take years to get that reputation back.

It is even worse when the allegations are presented or leaked to the media, which dutifully prints or broadcasts what they are told but often fails to use the same amount of space or airtime when the allegations don’t stick.

During my career as a law enforcement officer, I was often a guest lecturer at university-level journalism classes. I would tell those future reporters that they have almost as much power with their pens and microphones to destroy an individual’s life as I do with the gun on my hip.

The media and the government have enormous amounts of power; when turned on anyone, the effect can be devastating.

You see that power on full display in Washington today. If you believe it is being used totally justly just remember … if a committee chairman or law enforcement agency decides they don’t like what you are doing, you can get one of those subpoenas and wind up on that wall.

Ralph Page