U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is the target of an ad campaign begun Wednesday by a Washington-based consumer watchdog group demanding that he answer questions about a secret plea deal he gave wealthy New York financial advisor Jeffrey Epstein accused of sex trafficking underage girls, the Miami Herald reports.
Allied Progress, which normally advocates for student loan clients and against Wall Street special interests, is urging activists on social media to share a video about Acosta produced by the group and to sign a petition demanding that the U.S. Senate pass a bill that would give the Department of Justice’s inspector general the authority to investigate the controversial case.
In a letter to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote that the Office of Professional Responsibility had “opened an investigation into allegations that department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal matter was resolved.
Epstein escaped a possible life sentence as a result of an unusual non-prosecution agreement Acosta approved in 2008, while he was the U.S. attorney in Miami.
A Miami Herald series detailed how federal prosecutors, led by Acosta, worked with the investment counselor’s attorneys to come up with a special deal for Epstein, a multimillionaire who ran a sex pyramid scheme from his Palm Beach estate that targeted underage girls.
Epstein, 66, was granted federal immunity, along with others who were allegedly part of the conspiracy but not named. Epstein’s victims were not told about the arrangement and, after a brief stint in the Palm Beach County Jail on prostitution charges, Epstein was released in 2009.