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Trump Picks Alexander Acosta as New Labor Secretary Nominee

by Countable | 3.20.17

At a press conference Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that Alexander Acosta would be his new nominee for Labor Secretary, following Andy Puzder’s decision to withdraw his nomination to fill the role earlier this week.

Who is Alexander Acosta?

Acosta is a native of Miami, Florida who currently serves as the dean of the law school at Florida International University in his hometown, and is the chairman of U.S. Century Bank — which is among the largest Hispanic owned banks in the U.S. He earned both a bachelor’s degree in economics and a law degree at Harvard. After law school, Acosta spent two years as a clerk to current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who at the time was serving on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

If he is confirmed as Labor Secretary, it would be the fourth time that Acosta has been appointed by a president and confirmed by the Senate. As a member of the National Labor Relations Board Acosta either authored or was involved in over 125 opinions. In 2003, he went to work for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division as its Assistant Attorney General during the administration of former President George W. Bush, becoming the first Hispanic to hold that title. Acosta was then the U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Southern District and in that role he prosecuted several notable defendants such as Jack Abramoff for fraud, and Jose Padilla for terrorism after Padilla plotted a "dirty bomb" attack with radioactive material.

What’s the outlook for his confirmation?

Given how recently Acosta’s nomination was announced, it remains to be seen if he can attract bipartisan support or if Democrats will force Senate Republicans to confirm him on a party-line vote. However, Republicans’ control of 52 Senate seats and Acosta’s past experience serving in three different roles that required Senate confirmation suggests that he will be able to weather the process.

You can tell your senators what you think about Acosta’s nomination using the "Take Action" button.

What does the Dept. of Labor do?

The Department of Labor is responsible for assisting job seekers, employed workers and retirees by improving job-training and employment programs, supporting and strengthening laws to protect workers and safeguarding a post-retirement safety net. It has more than 17,000 employees and in Fiscal Year 2015 had a budget of $11.8 billion.

Among the agencies under its umbrella are the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and the Women’s Bureau, whose demands for equality in the workplace, including equal wages, trace back to two months before American women gained the right to vote in 1920.

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Florida International University)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(122)
  • Lynn
    02/19/2017
    ···

    Dear Representative, Please vote NO on R. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department. I do not have confidence in Mr. Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a large federal agency in an administration that has already shown a clear disregard for the rule of law and ethical standards of conduct. For example, "Mr. Acosta was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. Specifically, while at the Justice Department, his subordinates skirted the law, seeking to purge liberal attorneys from the division and replace them with conservatives. Acosta told investigators he was unaware of what was occurring. A career attorney in the division claimed that she had warned Acosta that the people the department was hiring were unqualified, but Acosta claimed that “no one complained to him that inappropriate hiring practices were taking place.”" Speaking of inappropriate practices, Acosta personally gave a “sweetheart” deal to friend of Donald Trump, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The feds say Epstein preyed upon dozens of underage girls in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but Acosta's office only prosecuted him for one case, in state court, for soliciting a minor. Acosta personally signed off in 2008 on the plea deal to not pursue federal charges against Epstein in exchange for the state pleas. Epstein served just 13 MONTHS of an 18-month sentence, though Federal statutes against transporting minors for the purposes of sex carry MINIMUM penalties of 10 YEARS. Two victims in the federal case, unhappy with the deal, have since sued the feds, saying that their rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act had been violated because they had not been in the loop about the details of a plea deal. A 2014 court filing shows letters from an Epstein lawyer to Acosta in 2007 telling him not to contact the victims in the case, and that lawyers in Acosta’s office waited months after an agreement with the billionaire was reached. Lawyers for the victims say that the letters show a “conspiracy between the Government and Epstein's attorneys to conceal.” Fun fact: Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump were good pals, and the future President was quoted in New York magazine in 2002 as saying “I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy … He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Two different examples involving Mr. Acosta and concealment of less than ethical behavior are enough for me. Let's raise the bar together and hold nominees to a higher standard. Please vote NO on Acosta. Also, I can't believe I need to say this, but I am not a paid protester and the following is not fake news: Trump's New Pick for Secretary of Labor: Alexander Acosta - The Atlantic; Billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein must testify in victim's lawsuit - NY Daily News; Trump names Alexander Acosta as labor secretary nominee - POLITICO

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  • StvB
    02/19/2017
    ···

    Vet Acosta well to hold him accountable, but this finally may be a worthy Cabinet nominee put forward by this administration!! Presumably so, I then ask that ALL Democrats vote "YES" on Acosta to show the President, his administration, the Republicans and the rest of the nation that when they, the Republicans/President do what is right, there will be mutual respect and compassionate action taken to cooperate by the Democrats for the good of the nation; but when it's wrong, as clearly it is with Pruitt (wtf!), DeVos (wtf!) and Sessions (again, wtf!)...fight like crazy until no one is left standing!!

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  • Alysia
    02/17/2017
    ···

    Make sure this pick is fully vetted. It is straight out of the playbook to pick a Latinx/minority candidate and expect to have his ideology given only a cursory glance...let's make sure he will actually support issues important to Black and Brown workers. This from a President who didn't believe a US judge of Mexican descent could be fair in his judgments.

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  • Jennifer
    02/16/2017
    ···

    I believe Mr. Acosta would make a good Secretary of Labor. See? If you don't simply push through unqualified and inappropriate candidates, or if those types quit, reasonable nominees are put forth.

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  • Judy
    02/19/2017
    ···

    He sounds more reasonable than most nominees so far. Per the Washington Post, he has defended in at least two cases, the civil rights of Muslim Americans. As the top federal prosecutor, he lead the case against Jack Abramoff on conspiracy, fraud, and tax charges.

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  • Kay
    02/17/2017
    ···

    Need to research more, but better choice than previous pick.

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  • Expwy
    02/17/2017
    ···

    Make sure he represents the interests of workers and not owners!

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  • Vicky
    02/16/2017
    ···

    Isn't it funny how when someone is nominated who finally seems suitable, we are still suspicious because all the others were so horrible? What don't we know? At this point I'd say save your battles for the DeVos type candidates.

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  • alivetojoy
    02/18/2017
    ···

    From "She Persisted" on Countable: Dear Representative, Please vote NO on R. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department. I do not have confidence in Mr. Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a large federal agency in an administration that has already shown a clear disregard for the rule of law and ethical standards of conduct. For example, "Mr. Acosta was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. Specifically, while at the Justice Department, his subordinates skirted the law, seeking to purge liberal attorneys from the division and replace them with conservatives. Acosta told investigators he was unaware of what was occurring. A career attorney in the division claimed that she had warned Acosta that the people the department was hiring were unqualified, but Acosta claimed that “no one complained to him that inappropriate hiring practices were taking place.”" Speaking of inappropriate practices, Acosta personally gave a “sweetheart” deal to friend of Donald Trump, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The feds say Epstein preyed upon dozens of underage girls in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but Acosta's office only prosecuted him for one case, in state court, for soliciting a minor. Acosta personally signed off in 2008 on the plea deal to not pursue federal charges against Epstein in exchange for the state pleas. Epstein served just 13 MONTHS of an 18-month sentence, though Federal statutes against transporting minors for the purposes of sex carry MINIMUM penalties of 10 YEARS. Two victims in the federal case, unhappy with the deal, have since sued the feds, saying that their rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act had been violated because they had not been in the loop about the details of a plea deal. A 2014 court filing shows letters from an Epstein lawyer to Acosta in 2007 telling him not to contact the victims in the case, and that lawyers in Acosta’s office waited months after an agreement with the billionaire was reached. Lawyers for the victims say that the letters show a “conspiracy between the Government and Epstein's attorneys to conceal.” Fun fact: Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump were good pals, and the future President was quoted in New York magazine in 2002 as saying “I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy … He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Two different examples involving Mr. Acosta and concealment of less than ethical behavior are enough for me. Let's raise the bar together and hold nominees to a higher standard. Please vote NO on Acosta. Also, I can't believe I need to say this, but I am not a paid protester and the following is not fake news: Trump's New Pick for Secretary of Labor: Alexander Acosta - The Atlantic; Billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein must testify in victim's lawsuit - NY Daily News; Trump names Alexander Acosta as labor secretary nominee - POLITICO

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  • ShePersisted
    02/18/2017
    ···

    Dear Representative, Please vote NO on R. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department. I do not have confidence in Mr. Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a large federal agency in an administration that has already shown a clear disregard for the rule of law and ethical standards of conduct. For example, "Mr. Acosta was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. Specifically, while at the Justice Department, his subordinates skirted the law, seeking to purge liberal attorneys from the division and replace them with conservatives. Acosta told investigators he was unaware of what was occurring. A career attorney in the division claimed that she had warned Acosta that the people the department was hiring were unqualified, but Acosta claimed that “no one complained to him that inappropriate hiring practices were taking place.”" Speaking of inappropriate practices, Acosta personally gave a “sweetheart” deal to friend of Donald Trump, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The feds say Epstein preyed upon dozens of underage girls in the late ’90s and early 2000s, but Acosta's office only prosecuted him for one case, in state court, for soliciting a minor. Acosta personally signed off in 2008 on the plea deal to not pursue federal charges against Epstein in exchange for the state pleas. Epstein served just 13 MONTHS of an 18-month sentence, though Federal statutes against transporting minors for the purposes of sex carry MINIMUM penalties of 10 YEARS. Two victims in the federal case, unhappy with the deal, have since sued the feds, saying that their rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act had been violated because they had not been in the loop about the details of a plea deal. A 2014 court filing shows letters from an Epstein lawyer to Acosta in 2007 telling him not to contact the victims in the case, and that lawyers in Acosta’s office waited months after an agreement with the billionaire was reached. Lawyers for the victims say that the letters show a “conspiracy between the Government and Epstein's attorneys to conceal.” Fun fact: Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump were good pals, and the future President was quoted in New York magazine in 2002 as saying “I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy … He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Two different examples involving Mr. Acosta and concealment of less than ethical behavior are enough for me. Let's raise the bar together and hold nominees to a higher standard. Please vote NO on Acosta. Also, I can't believe I need to say this, but I am not a paid protester and the following is not fake news: Trump's New Pick for Secretary of Labor: Alexander Acosta - The Atlantic; Billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein must testify in victim's lawsuit - NY Daily News; Trump names Alexander Acosta as labor secretary nominee - POLITICO

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  • Kiley
    02/17/2017
    ···

    The Secretary of labor should represent the interests of workers. Make sure he is in support of raising the minimum wage.

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  • Suzie
    02/20/2017
    ···

    Acosta needs to be vetted well. He's clearly more suitable than the last guy but that's not saying much.

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  • VSB
    02/18/2017
    ···

    Alex Acosta has a history of attacking voting rights as a Bush appointed assistant attorney general with responsibility for leading the US Department of Justice's Justice's Civil Rights Division. He actually wrote a judge to endorse voter caging, the practice of sending mass direct mailings to registered voters by nonforwardable mail, then compiling lists of voters, called "caging lists," from the returned mail in order to formally challenge their right to vote on that basis alone. This was done to disenfranchise large numbers of minority voters. These actions were reported by the Inspector General. So this is not a person who is going to recognise civil liberties in labor or care about the American worker.. Please oppose!

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  • Pamela k.
    02/16/2017
    ···

    I have to admit, I'm somewhat surprised. This fellow seems to be a conservative but reasonable person. I hope that what I've read is true. Country before Party please.

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  • Cindy
    02/16/2017
    ···

    A good introduction to the man and his accomplishments, but what are his political views?

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  • Jay
    02/17/2017
    ···

    Make sure he is in favor of RAISING the Minimum Wage, Focusing on FIXING income equality between men and women and to bring the lower class and middle class closer to equal pay for the amount of productivity we do. We should not be working harder than most countries around the world and getting paid less than them!

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  • Jenn
    02/16/2017
    ···

    Please hold off on confirming pick until fully vetted. Your US constituents as myself urge you ! Thank you

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  • Jennifer
    02/20/2017
    ···

    Please vet Me Acosta thoroughly. While on the surface his resume appears to be free of scandal and conflict of interests, a deeper look into his involvement with billionaire, and trump's personal friend, Epstein's trial for sex trafficking greatly concerns me. Especially since this secty of labor is responsible for ensuring the safety of women (& men) in the workplace against sexual harassment.

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  • Linda
    02/16/2017
    ···

    Will need to learn more about the man before forming an opinion. Since he has previously held senate approved positions hopefully his vetting will be completed before his hearing.

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  • GMarcel63
    02/17/2017
    ···

    Certainly seems more reasonable pick than the CEO Hardee's / Carl's Jr. Still tough questions need to be asked concerning earning a living wage, paid family leave, retraining works for better jobs as technology changes, overtime, benefits

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