Bush Aide Claude Allen Charged With Shoplifting
Bush's former domestic policy advisor, Claude Allen, whom Bush nominated for a seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in April, 2003, has been charged with felony shoplifting. Who is Claude Allen? Mr. Allen is no low-level staffer.
Allen was the No. 2 official in the Health and Human Services Department when Bush nominated him in April 2003 to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. Bush nominated Allen to the court again a year later, but he never received a Senate vote.
Bush then made him his domestic policy advisor. From the first link above:
Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Claude Allen, President Bush's nominee to the Fourth Circuit, is a staunch social conservative with long-standing connections to the right wing of the Republican Party. He has devoted much of his career to advancing the agenda of the religious right on issues such as reproductive rights, sex education, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, welfare, and the right to die. He is a board member of Peacemaker Ministries, an organization that espouses the view that litigation is a destructive way of dealing with conflict, a troubling position for a person who would be responsible for dispensing fair and impartial justice to those who bring lawsuits as well as those who defend them.
Allen's nomination provokes concern for a number of reasons.
First, he lacks the experience normally required for the federal bench - he has never been a judge and, in the thirteen years since he finished law school, he has spent at most eight years practicing law.1 Second, in the course of his career as a political appointee for former Virginia Governor James Gilmore and President Bush, Allen has amassed a troubling record of extreme, right-wing policies that is more befitting a partisan ideologue than an unbiased jurist. Third, Allen's behavior toward those that disagree with him, along with his frequent hostile or threatening comments, suggest that he is temperamentally unfit to be a federal judge.
Doug Ireland wrote:
President Bush's appointment of his new chief domestic-policy adviser, Claude Allen - a notorious homophobe, a ferocious enemy of abortion and an opponent of safe-sex education who for years has been one of the AIDS community's principal enemies - is a huge victory for the social reactionaries of the Christian right.
"Allen, who was named to his new position in the White House last week, had previously been a top aide at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He was placed there by Karl Rove as a watchdog on then - HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, who had an exaggerated reputation as a "moderate" and who wasn't entirely trusted by Rove to carry out - by administrative order - the social agenda of the Christian right, a key part of Rove's successful plan to mobilize millions of Christer voters for Bush's re-election."
When Allen suddenly resigned on Feb. 9, no one knew why. The adminstration said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Now, they are backtracking and throwing him under the bus:
The president first learned of Allen's planned departure and the January incident in early February, but since Allen had passed the usual background checks and had no other prior issues that White House officials were aware of, "He was given the benefit of the doubt," McClellan said.
"If it is true, no one would be more shocked and more outraged than the president," McClellan said. Allen has had no contact with the White House since his arrest.
More on the shoplifting:
Allen has been under investigation since at least January for the alleged thefts on 25 occasions at Target and Hecht's stores, said police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett. Police reviewed his credit card records to track his purchase.
Police believe Allen would buy items, take them to his car, then return to the store with his receipt. He would select the same items, then take them to the store return desk and show the receipt from the first purchase. Using that method, he would receive credit for the second items on his credit cards, Burnett said.
Digby has lots more on Mr. Allen.
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