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New Public-Corruption Chief Vows To Not Shy Away

Veteran prosecutor Raymond Hulser has been promoted to lead the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, the unit that goes after corrupt public officials including lawmakers, judges and military contractors.

Hulser, 52, cast the new job as the culmination of his career dedicated to attacking government misconduct at all levels. He started in the unit in 1990 and his first major trial — of a Louisiana federal judge convicted of bribery charges — featured a lawyer who went on to become the deputy U.S. attorney general and another attorney who went on to become his wife. The couple have children ages 9, 12 and 15. At one point, Hulser said, he worked part time for several years at the Justice Department while his children were younger.

"I know how hard this work is for the men and women who work here," Hulser said in an interview. "This place is part of my career and my growing up."

Just within the past few months, the unit convicted a judge in Puerto Rico; indicted law enforcement officers in North Carolina accused of trying to operate a protection racket for drug traffickers; and indicted sitting New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat who has vowed to fight bribery and other charges lodged against him.

"What you can see from that case and some of the others we've brought over the last several months is that this section is not going to be shy about bringing important and tough cases and we're going to try those cases," Hulser said.

Hulser's no stranger to messy legal disputes. His supervisors repeatedly enlisted him as a Mr. Fix It when they ran into trouble prosecuting Blackwater security contractors and the late Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. The Justice Department ultimately abandoned the Stevens case because of misconduct Hulser helped to uncover. He later won an award for that service.

Hulser said he's looking to fill multiple posts in the unit, searching for people with strong judgment.

His boss, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, said in an internal memo that she had come to rely on Hulser for his "judgment, intellect and expertise."

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Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.