Claude Allen’s Twin Brother

Michelle Malkin has two posts (here and here) noting that Claude Allen, the former top Bush advisor who it was revealed Friday had been arrested for a refund scam, has an identical twin brother, Floyd. Whereas Claude scratched his way out of poverty to an important job at the White House, Floyd has led a very troubled life.

Michelle observes, “If it turns out that Claude Allen, a father of three who reportedly has bailed out his troubled twin brother before, tried to protect Floyd Allen and ruined his career out of familial love, that is an extraordinary thing.” No doubt. And it would certainly explain why a man who had apparently led such an exemplary life suddenly threw it all away for less than a week’s salary. (Indeed, he could have probably earned an extra $5000 at work quicker than by running the scam in question.) If Claude is taking the fall for his brother, it is both very sweet and very wrong. His higher duty, after all, is to his wife and children, not his brother.

Update: To be clear, Claude Allen is not claiming that his brother was the actual perpretator. This is merely speculation on the part of some confused as to why someone in his position would have committed such a high risk, low reward behavior.

I should note, too, that this does not have much bearing on whatever political fallout there might be from this case. Even though I follow American politics rather closely, I had never heard of Allen before the arrest report. That’s not to say that he was not an important player; he was. But his lack of fame limits the damage substantially. Further, I can’t imagine anyone otherwise inclined to support President Bush blaming him for the private conduct of an appointee.

To the extent that there is a political question here it is about the way Allen’s dismissal was handled. He was accused of a crime, a fact the administration presumably knew, but a cover story was put out claiming Allen was resigning for family reasons and that he had done great service to the country. If Allen were covering for his brother, nothing would change in that regard.


Related: Claude Allen, Former Bush Adviser, Arrested

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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. DC Loser says:

    Oh, that excuse will work well with the judge. Why not just say the dog ate my homework?

  2. James Joyner says:

    I don’t think Claude is claiming this is what happened; it’s merely speculation so far as I know.

  3. Mark says:

    The whole thing reminds me of a Law & Order episode: the police arrested some guy for a murder and his twin brother stepped in and took the fall – and at the end you really never knew which one actually did the crime.

    Of course the only difference is that in the TV show, the brother who took the fall was an ex-con, while the one who got off was the “clean-cut” brother who did not have run-ins with the law.

  4. John Burgess says:

    I suspect what went down in the White House was something like this:

    Allen, having been busted, shows up to work the following day. He knows he’s got serious trouble and doesn’t want it to blow back on the WH, as much as he can control the matter.

    He goes to his boss–maybe Andy Card?–and says words to the effect of, “I’m going to have to resign. I got myself in a legal jam and it’s not going to be pretty. I don’t want you guys to suffer for my sins, so I’m leaving.”

    The WH, insofar as we know, received a call from a Maryland police department enquiring whether or not Mr. Allen worked there. They, of course, replied in the affirmative, the only answer they could legally give–and the only information they could provide.

    Gov’t offices–including the WH–get queries like this all the time. It can be for a gun permit or a mortgage, though I’ll grant that the police rarely ask for mortgage purposes. But all of this is going on the Office of White House Personnel, not one of the political offices. No flags were necessarily raised.

    Allen gets to walk out the door with “Attaboy Package #2” complimenting him on his selfless work, dedication, blah-blah-blah, “returning to the private sector for personal reasons,” blah-blah-blah.

    Some weeks later, Mr. Allen appears in the media as a very strange person with very serious (well, he’s not a baby-raper, but he is Black and Republican, working in the West Wing!) legal problems.

    Instant fodder for the Bush-bashing herd.

    Since the story is at least a week old now, it’s time for the “Outer Limits” crew to come in with fresh story ideas to keep the series going for a while longer. Cognative dissonance sets in through which some are seeking exoneration through Christian charity and mercy (protecting his twin!) by taking a major legal hit and somehow also sliming the WH in the process.

    I suspect that Frater Ockham would go for the simpler story line: Here’s a guy with good chops who also had some personal issues. He controlled those issues pretty well for a long time (at least long enough to get through FBI vetting), but under pressure or simply the passing of time, screwed up.

  5. Bhoe says:

    If you read the arrest report, Claude admitted to fraud, so the whole “twin brother theory” is idiotic.