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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MrGone says:

    Another crook at the White House. How many more? And he was the head of the abstinence-only, school prayer, and banning abortion programs. Like I always say, be wary of those who preach morality to others.

    The good news is of course that this trouble had nothing to do with him leaving the White House job. Is it just another bad apple or is the whole bunch really rotten?

  2. Bithead says:

    So, big shock, the WaPo is lying to us. But, why? What would the Washington Post gain, by creating the illusion that Allen was in “the inner circle” by misstating the facts? Could it be that there trying to further the image of a corrupt administration… an image the facts simply do not support?

    I think so… and it all has to do with image. A slight divergence, but a parallel point here that should not be missed:

    Recently we discussed the idea that the press had been pushing on the American public the idea that Iraq was on the verge of civil war, despite the fact that there were no supporting fact to this claim. Indeed, the facts ran in exactly the opposite direction. Well, what do you know: This morning, a poll came out indicating that 73% of Americans figure Iraq is on the verge of civil war. I’d say that was a fairly successful PR campaign on the part of the press, wouldn’t you?

    So here, with Allen, we have yet another situation popping up, where, before the echo dies, the antique media is already trying to spin this one against the administration, and the Republicans, on the verge of an election.

    Now, why would they do that, do you suppose?

  3. McGehee says:

    Is it just another bad apple or is the whole bunch really rotten?

    Considering that some people were pronouncing everything and everyone associated with the Bush name to be “rotten” before the election in 2000 — when the only evidence was, of course, the fact he wasn’t the pronouncers’ choice for the job — this question doesn’t exactly get my adrenaline pumping, y’know?

  4. anjin-san says:

    Yes, the evil “MSM” is lying to us again. There is a strong pollibility that space aliens with evil intent are behind it all. Only a few viglant souls see the truth!

  5. Bithead says:

    Ya know, anjin-san, If you’re going to float this stuff at least you could have the courtesy of presenting facts counter to the argument. WaPo clearly came out with two facts that were not true on this story alone. The story I refer to in my response parallels the main story so closely it is illogical not to question whether not there’s a pattern developing here.

    So, even tell us, anjin-san: What is it that’s driving this pattern of lies? Or are you going to tell us all that I’d misread the situation and that it’s all a misunderstanding or better yet on this direction on my part?

    We will now see anjin-san’s imitation of Marcel Marceau.

  6. djneylon says:

    Let’s see..correct me if I’m wrong (and I know you will), but I believe Mr. Allen now joins Scooter Libby as the only people connnected to the administration to be indicted for anything (and note, as yet, no convictions)…how many Clintonites were indicted/convicted by this point in the last administration? …. can you say Main Stream Hypocrites?

  7. anjin-san says:

    Of course Bithead, you are certainly much better informed then The Washington Post. You read it on someones blog…

  8. anjin-san says:


    I am standing by for you to present your fact-based case proving that Iraq is NOT on the verge of civil war

    >despite the fact that there were no supporting fact to this claim. Indeed, the facts ran in exactly the opposite direction.

    When I ask for a fact-based case, I do not mean “Captain Ed said so.

  9. Bithead says:

    Of course Bithead, you are certainly much better informed then The Washington Post. You read it on someones blog�

    So let me understand this; you’re really saying that Allen was higher ranking than Rice or Rove?

    I am standing by for you to present your fact-based case proving that Iraq is NOT on the verge of civil war

    How about the word of someone who is there?

    I’M trying. I’ve been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I’m looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can’t find it.

    Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view’s clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn’t give me the right skills.

    And riding around with the U.S. Army, looking at things first-hand, is certainly a technique to which The New York Times wouldn’t stoop in such an hour of crisis.

    Let me tell you what I saw anyway. Rolling with the “instant Infantry” gunners of the 1st Platoon of Bravo Battery, 4-320 Field Artillery, I saw children and teenagers in a Shia slum jumping up and down and cheering our troops as they drove by. Cheering our troops.

    All day – and it was a long day – we drove through Shia and Sunni neighborhoods. Everywhere, the reception was warm. No violence. None.

    And no hostility toward our troops. Iraqis went out of their way to tell us we were welcome.

    Instead of a civil war, something very different happened because of the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. The fanatic attempt to stir up Sunni-vs.-Shia strife, and the subsequent spate of violent attacks, caused popular support for the U.S. presence to spike upward.

    Think Abu Musab al-Zarqawi intended that?

    I can’t wait to see you try to dance around this one.

  10. anjin-san says:


    So one guy says so in an op-ed and it is a “fact”. LOL, no wonder you love Bush.

    Do you know what the “opinion” in op-ed refers to? I can spell it out with crayons if that will help you.

    Actually, I should not laugh. It’s not funny, just sad.

  11. The �the highest-ranking African American on the White House staff� is pretty easy to explain, insofar as technically it is true–because cabinet secretaries don’t count as being part of the Executive Office of the President, and hence aren’t “staff”.

    I hate to say this, but I think that there really is no other way to view this than a high-ranking staffer from the WH was a serious shoplifter, and it isn’t WaPo‘s fault.

    Some of the comments above remind me of the pro-Bush spin on the low approval numbers–some grasping at straws. Sometimes a bad story is simply a bad story–and this is a bad story.

    Do I think that this is somehow the administration’s fault? No. But it hardly is positive PR.

    Certainly had it been an adviser to President Clinton, his partisan opponents would hardly be pointing out potential inconsistencies in the job description in the new reporting.

  12. Bithead says:

    So one guy says so in an op-ed and it is a �fact�. LOL, no wonder you love Bush.

    Actually, he’s one of many. It’s just that you don’t often see them in DNC talking points.

  13. anjin-san says:


    In other words, you cannot present a fact base argument, and you are just blowing hot air.

    What a suprise.

  14. Bithead says:

    First of all, I already have presented a fact based argument. Granted, one writer… whom you clearly didn’t bother to read… but discounting the facts presented doesn’t make them less than factual.

    Secondly if I continued piling fact on fact on fact which I could easily do, would you believe it? You know full well you would not. If the facts that are already out there aren’t going to convince you I doubt much will.

    More than granted, there are those who were trying to present the image that Iraq has descended into civil war. Each for reasons of their own, not least of these the mainstream media and the democratic party who , as usual, are acting as one in this instance. they know full well that the only way they’re going to get any traction on any issue is to defeat the current administration on this issue; they must make bush look like a failure. To that end, they lie. Repeatedly. after all, it is in their best interest to do so, from a political POV.

    But Democratic party loyalist that you are, you sweep aside all notions of motivation for proclaiming a false situation as the Democrats and the mainstream media are doing today. You do this because, as usual, your mind, such as it is is already made up. Forget the facts, you already know what happened.

    It MUST be true… after all, John “served in Vietnam” Kerry and that blithering, cowardly idiot John “Cut and Run” Murtha said so.

    And forgive me the observation, I know how hard it is for Democrats to admit this, but the facts point in exactly the opposite direction of your claims. So since we’ve seen none, yet, let’s see some facts from you. Just be aware, going in, they won’t hold up.

  15. Bithead says:

    For some reason, my last post didn’t hit the wire.
    Suffice it to say there are Many other sources of this information all of which are far more in the way of information than do you.

    Sources, that thus far you have ignored. Why?

  16. Bithead says:

    Oh, there it is. Never mind

  17. anjin-san says:

    OK Bithead, lets review these sources which you seem to feel support your arguement:

    Rumsfeld: If there is no slide twoards civil war, why is he briefing congress on the strategy for civil war?

    >Dealing with a civil war in Iraq would be the responsibility of Iraq’s own security forces, at least initially, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress on Thursday.

    Lets not forget that no one is saying that there is a civil war taking place now, so Rumsfeld saying the same thing does not really do much to back you up. Also he is one of the architects of this disaster, and he clearly has a political agenda. His words need to be taken with a grain of salt at best.

    BBC News:

    >Iraq does not have a civil war, but it has the makings of one. Long before the golden dome of the mosque in Samarra was destroyed there were serious…

    Well they say it has not started, but may well happen. Is this one of the facts you say proves Iraq is not headed for civil war?

    Christian Science monitor: (always a great source for news)

    >BAGHDAD � After a weekend of sleepless nights, emergency meetings, and an unprecedented three-day curfew, Iraq has managed to stave off its worst fear after last week’s destruction of a major Shiite shrine: That the country’s small-scale civil conflict was about to bloom into a bloody and wide-ranging war between its sects.
    But disturbing signs are emerging that Iraq’s sectarian powder-keg is still highly volatile.

    So there is no civil war at the moment, but they are still pretty deep in the woods.

    I am still waiting for the “facts” you say prove Iraq is not headed twoards civil war. Clearly the sources you yourself cite do not support your own argument, in fact they rather go in the other direction.

    I think I am going to have to wrap this discussion up, you have not produced fact one, you are calling people liars when you cant back it up, and you are not even a halfway decent debater.

    A Bush man indeed…

  18. Bithead says:

    Rumsfeld: If there is no slide twoards civil war, why is he briefing congress on the strategy for civil war?

    Mostly because the democrats in Congress demand it. And why do you suppose they do that?

    Well they say it has not started, but may well happen.

    And, if wishes were horses, Democrats coule ride, eh?

    So there is no civil war at the moment, but they are still pretty deep in the woods.

    No. Not so long as they’re willing to work to keep what they have. They do seem to ahve the situation under some control, where I suspect it will stay.

    And just out of curiosity, what is your definition of civil war?

    The phrase Civil War suggests two factions within the country if Iraq. Thing is, that’s not what we have here. How is it a civil war when it’s being arranged by people from outside the country? The reactions of the people inside the country suggests that the Iraqis don’t want more civil or otherwise unless it’s to remove the Islamofascists.

    So even if you were right, (and you’re not) that the country is in the process of ramping up in terms of violence, it still doesn’t qualify as a “Civil War” .

    Welcome to “words mean things”.

    A Democrat for sure, this one.

  19. anjin-san says:

    Right bit, its all coming from outside Iraq and you say so, so its a fact. Welcome to the comic book world of Bush.

    Still waiting for a single fact, Bubba.

  20. anjin-san says:

    Oh, and a sidebar. The GOP controlls congress. Rumsfeld can pretty much tell the Democrats there to piss off. He certainly does not have to do what they “demand” as he works for Bush.

  21. anjin-san says:

    One more thought, Bit, words do indeed, mean something. Please look “fact” up sometime, as you clearly do not grasp its meaning.