Claude Allen, Former Bush Adviser, Arrested
Claude Allen, who served for two years as a senior presidential advisor, has been arrested for “allegedly swindling Target and Hecht’s stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scheme.”
Quite bizarre and, presuming the allegations are true, inexcusable.
I wonder about a couple aspects of the report which fronts this morning’s WaPo, however. They refer to Allen as “President Bush’s top domestic policy adviser” and “the highest-ranking African American on the White House staff.” Wouldn’t Karl Rove be the president’s top domestic policy adviser? I don’t have a White House organizational chart broken down by ethnic background handy to judge the second; with Condi Rice elevated to the cabinet, it might be right.
Regardless, while I disagree with John Podhoretz and others who want to pretend Allen was a non-entity (a West Wing office pretty much obviates that claim) it is even more absurd to claim that this is some sort of allegory for the moral caliber of those serving the administration. Indeed, Josh Marshall likely has the right take: “[T]his case, at least on its face, seems personal and clinical. An accomplished man, making $160,000 a year making a few grand ripping off radios and photo-printers from the local Target?” Stranger things have happened, I suppose.
It is a fair point to note, as many have (see Faiz at Think Progress, Digby, Brad DeLong, Steve at firedoglake, Steve Soto, and Oliver Willis) , that the administration allowed Allen to resign under the old “more time with my family” charade and even put out a laudatory statement “Claude is a good and compassionate man, and he has my deep respect and gratitude. I thank him for his many years of principled and dedicated service to our country” when they presumably knew about these charges. It’s understandable from the standpoint of both political expediency and “innocent until proven guilty” but opens them up for questions.
As an aside, several have noted that “Allen had the highest salary of any employee in the White House, tied with Karl Rove, Andrew Card, and Stephen Hadley, among others. He was earning $161,000 a year.” Frankly, that’s not a big deal. Executive and judicial pay is tied to what Members of Congress make. Any appointee with any seniority at all is making that salary.