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February 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Ex-House Staff Member Convicted of Taking Bribe: Trip to Game One of 2003 World Series

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON – Game One of the 2003 World Series at Yankee Stadium; All expense paid trip.

Priceless? Only when you don’t get caught.

Fraser C. Verrusio, 41, a former staff member for Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who was then-chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,  was convicted Thursday after a 10-day trial in Washington  on one count of conspiring to accept an illegal gratuity and other related counts connected to taking a free trip to Game One of the World Series between the Yankees and the Florida Marlins,  the Justice Department said.

The conviction appeared to be the last of the  trials linked to the ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff scandal.

“Accepting gifts from lobbyists and then lying about those gifts on financial disclosure forms is simply not acceptable,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in a statement. “The Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and our partners in the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are committed to holding accountable government servants who abuse their positions for personal gain.”

James W. McJunkin, head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office added: “Mr. Verrusio’s conduct cuts against the thousands of government workers who live their lives by the ethical code they pledged to uphold.”

The Justice Department said that Verrusio worked as the policy director for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that had responsibility for the Federal Highway Bill.

Testimony at trial showed that Verrusio and Trevor Blackann, a legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, accepted an all-expenses-paid trip to Game One of the 2003 World Series from a lobbyist working for an equipment rental company interested in inserting three amendments into the Federal Highway Bill.

The trip was paid for by the equipment rental company and the lobbyist’s firm. Blackann has already pleaded guilty in the case.

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