Merkley, Wyden call on Labor Secretary Acosta to resign

WASHINGTON – (Update: Wyden also calls for Acosta’s resignation)

Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Tuesday called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign.

Merkley’s call “follows new details about the serial sexual abuse of children by Jeffrey Epstein, a powerful financier with whom Acosta negotiated a lenient 2007 plea deal when Acosta was serving as U.S. attorney in Florida,” the senator’s statement said.

“Over many years, Jeffrey Epstein concocted and executed a diabolical scheme so that he could prey on and sexually abuse dozens of children. The details of this scheme are horrific and tragic.

“When Alex Acosta had the chance to bring him to justice and protect future victims, did he do so? No. Instead, he put Epstein’s power, money, and connections ahead of protecting children and let him off with a slap on the wrist. Absurdly, he even allowed Epstein to leave jail for six out of seven days each week during the brief sentence he served. In what world does this represent an appropriate plea deal for a serial sexual predator? 

“Alex Acosta bears direct responsibility for this miscarriage of justice and for failing to protect children. He must resign immediately.”

Wyden tweeted that he voted against Acosta’s nomination two years ago “because of his involvement in this case.”

“Acosta must resign immediately and take responsibility for his role in enabling the exploitation of these children,” the senator added.