Bush's Domestic Policy Adviser
Pleads Guilty to Shoplifting
BOB ROEHR / Bay Area Reporter 10aug2006
Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, right, leads a session of
the program, Thursday, October 27, 2005 at Howard University in
Washington, during the White House Conference on Helping America's Youth.
More on Bush
Former presidential aide Claude Allen pleaded guilty to one count of shoplifting in Montgomery County, Maryland, on Friday, August 5. He was domestic policy adviser to President Bush at the time of the incidents, and he subsequently resigned that position in February, prior to his arrest on the charges becoming public knowledge.
Allen, 45, was one of the most prominent African American social conservatives within the Republican Party and the Bush administration. He served as press secretary to Senator Jesse Helms in the 1980s, and served as the number two person at the Department of Health and Human Services during Bush's first four years in office.
In that position, essentially the chief operating officer of the huge agency, he was a strong supporter of abstinence only HIV prevention programs and restrictions on abortions. He championed audits of AIDS services organizations and activities that many within the community characterized as harassing in nature.
Allen lived in the affluent Washington suburbs of Montgomery County. According to the statement released by county police when he first appeared in court in March, security cameras at a Target store caught Allen in the scam.
"He would buy items, take them out to his car, and return to the store with the receipt. He would select the same items he had just purchased, and then return them for a refund. Allen is known to have conducted approximately 25 of these types of refunds, having the money credited to his credit cards," the statement said.
Investigation by Target personnel and the police "learned that Allen had been receiving refunds in an amount exceeding $5,000 during last year. Some of the fraudulent returns were made at Target stores and some at Hecht's stores," a leading local department store, according to authorities.
The plea agreement reduced the multiple violations to a single misdemeanor offense. Allen must pay a $500 fine, perform 40 hours of community service, make restitution of $850 to Target, and serve two years of supervised probation.
It allows him to retain his license to practice law, something that a felony conviction might have prevented.
"Stealing is not something that I ever thought that I would ever do, and I did," Allen told the judge. "I accept full responsibility for my actions and what I did. I am intensely, immensely sorry for that and very remorseful for the harm that I've caused so many."
His wife Jannese, reading from a written statement, recounted the pressures that her husband was under at the time, including transition to a new house with four small children. "Claude's 14-hour workdays became more demanding after the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," she said.
The judge said that he thought Allen was "legitimately remorseful."
Others were not so generous. Washington Post metro columnist Marc Fisher called it "a sweetheart deal ... Would someone who hadn't been deputy secretary of [HHS] have gotten such a sweet deal? Even if they would have, shouldn't a top official of government be held to a higher standard?"
"A lot of people face stress, and they don't do anything like that," Ronald Walters told the Post . He is Allen's ideological opposite and heads up the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland. "There's still the why out there. The psychological factor is the factor I'm missing in all of this. That's the tantalizing factor."
source: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=1079 10aug2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Claude Alexander Allen (born October 11, 1960) was the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in George W. Bush's White House and a former nominee for a judgeship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The conservative African-American Republican was appointed to his White House position in January 2005. Allen resigned February 9, 2006, stating he wanted to spend more time with his family. It was later reported that he had been detained by retail store security guards on January 2, 2006 and subsequently arrested by local authorities on March 9, 2006 on charges of "theft over $500" and "felony theft scheme", allegedly claiming retail store refunds to which he was not entitled.
Allen is married, with four children. He was earning $161,000 per year in his federal job at the time of his resignation.
Early life and education
Allen, a native of Philadelphia, grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in a working-class section of northwest Washington, D.C. He attended Archbishop Carroll High School, a Roman Catholic school. His mother worked part-time at a Catholic school; his father worked for a plumbing supply business. In a television interview, Allen said "Probably the vast majority of the kids who grew up in our neighborhood were either strung out on drugs or in jail or dead."
In 1982, Allen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. He was a member of a fraternity, Chi Psi. Although the majority of the members of the local chapter of Chi Psi at the University of North Carolina were white, the chapter was one of the only truly integrated fraternities on the campus at the time.
Career after college
Allen grew up a Democrat, but he took a job after college as press secretary for Bill Cobey, a Republican Congressional candidate in North Carolina. He switched parties, saying later, in an interview, "I realized after the fact that I agree more with the Republican Party platform, that it talked about independence, that it talked about individual responsibility, individual rights, it talked about the ability to guarantee opportunities, not outcomes."
Allen subsequently began working for Republican Senator Jesse Helms, of North Carolina; he was Helms's campaign spokesman in 1984. From 1985 to 1987, Allen was a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Law degree and subsequent career
Allen returned to school in 1987; in 1990, he finished a three-year law program and was awarded a J.D. degree from Duke University School of Law.
From 1990 to 1991, Allen was a law clerk for David B. Sentelle, a judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, famous for his role in the Whitewater investigation. Allen met, and became a protege, of Clarence Thomas, who was a judge on that court at the time Allen was clerking there.
After his clerkship, Allen became an associate at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1995. He then served in the Virginia Attorney General's Office from 1995 to 1998, before becoming Secretary (Commissioner) of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2001, Allen was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Allen was nominated in 2004 by President George W. Bush to become a federal judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination was opposed by numerous educational, religious, and civil rights groups, including People for the American Way, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women. He was rated as partially "not qualified" by the American Bar Association. His nomination was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and lapsed on December 8, 2005.
White House service
Allen was appointed to the position of Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in January 2005.
While in the White House, Allen jointly oversaw the White House Task Force that coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina along with the Homeland Security Council.
Allen has said of condom use, "It's like telling your child, 'Don't use the car,' but then leaving the keys in the Lamborghini and saying, 'But if you do, buckle up.'" He believes sex education should be teaching only abstinence.
Allen strongly opposes legalized abortion. Liberal journalist Doug Ireland wrote that when serving as Commissioner in Virginia, Allen opposed certain legislation because it included funding that would apply to abortions for minors including those who had been victims of rape, incest, and other forms of sexual abuse.
Arrest and Trial
Allen was detained on January 2, 2006, after one alleged theft, then arrested on March 9, 2006, for a series of similar alleged thefts in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to police, Allen committed refund theft, a form of criminal activity where goods are fraudulently returned in stores for cash.
Allen was apprehended by a Gaithersburg Target store loss prevention manager Pete Schomburg on January 2, 2006. According to the charging document, Allen "admitted to Agent Schomburg that he was committing fraudulent returns" . He was not formally charged until March after a review of security video and credit card activity dating back to 2005. Police said he credited more than $5,000 to his credit card through about 25 similar transactions at other stores.
By all accounts Allen's behavior was bizarre given that his annual salary as an advisor was $160,000. He pleaded guilty to theft on August 4, 2006. He shed tears during his sentencing hearing and apologized to his wife, family, and friends. Noting that Allen had been publicly humiliated by his arrest, and that he accepted responsibility for the crimes without trying to make excuses, the judge sentenced him to 18 months of "probation before judgment", which means that his record will be expunged of any crime if he completes his probation successfully.
Trial and guilty plea
A criminal trial on the allegations was scheduled to begin June 30, 2006, but was postponed the day before it was to begin. The Associated Press reported that Allen's lawyer was in negotation with prosecutors to avoid trial, and there was media speculation that a plea bargain was in progress. In early August, newspapers reported that Allen was scheduled to plead guilty in court on August 4, 2006, to a single count of misdemeanor theft. The report said that prosecutor and defense attorneys have asked that Allen pay $850 in restitution to Target Corporation and serve one month's probation, but no jail time.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Allen 10aug2006