Senate panel sets March 15 hearing for Trump's labor nominee

AP News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2017 12:16 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump's new choice to be secretary of labor, pledged Wednesday to leave his position as a law school dean and resign from the board of a bank if he's confirmed.

Acosta, 48, is dean of Florida International University's law school. He's also on the board of U.S. Century Bank, a locally owned and managed community bank that aims in part to aid local businesses.

If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump's Cabinet.

The filing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and the Workforce Committee is a stark contrast with Trump's original choice for the post. Fast food CEO Andrew Puzder had vast financial holdings and vowed to recuse himself from any conflicts as Labor secretary, but he struggled to do so by various deadlines and his hearing was postponed several times. Ultimately, Puzder withdrew his name on the eve of his confirmation hearing under relentless questions about his personal and professional life.

Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill have trumpeted the fact that Acosta has been confirmed by the Senate to three posts, which means that unlike Puzder, he's received some vetting. Acosta was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to the National Labor Relations Board, to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and to be U.S. Attorney for South Florida.

Acosta's questionnaire shows a few political contributions. He gave $2,000 to Trump in 2016, and $2,700 a year earlier to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In 2012, he contributed $2,500 to that year's GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. Acosta also contributed $1,500 in two payments that year to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign, the questionnaire shows.