Ah. We all wondered why White House Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Claude Allen had resigned:
Former Bush Aide Charged in Felony Theft - Claude Allen had recently resigned as White House domestic-policy adviser. By Rachel Shteir: When Claude Allen, President Bush's longtime domestic-policy adviser, resigned suddenly on Feb. 9, it baffled administration critics and fans. The White House claimed that Allen was leaving to spend more time with his family.... Allen was arrested yesterday and charged in a felony theft and a felony theft scheme. According to a department press release, Allen conducted approximately 25 fraudulent "refunds" in Target and Hecht's stores in Maryland.... You purchase an item... leave the store with it... come back to the store and pick up exactly the same [item]... take [it]... and receipt from the original purchase to the returns desk, claiming that this is the item you bought, and get a refund for it.... Professional shoplifters like refund fraud because it's relatively safe. Since you never actually steal an object from the store, no one can chase you out to the parking lot.... Allen sought refunds for more than $5,000 in the past year. Allen allegedly stole items as expensive as a Bose theater system and a photo printer. Theft of more than $500 is a felony in Maryland...
African-Americans who go to work for Jesse Helms.... You gotta figure that there's a story there, that somewhere something's a few hoppers short of a full carload. But even so, this is a real surprise.
John Podhoretz at the Corner is first out of the gate with the official spin point:
The Corner on National Review Online: CLAUDE ALLEN [John Podhoretz]I wrote a book about the Bush White House. I know the names of many people who worked in the Bush White House. I've read every story there is to read about the Bush White House. I've been a political journalist for almost a quarter century, worked in a Republican administration, and gone to many right-wing parties. So let me say this about accused thief and former White House policy bigshot Claude Allen: WHO?
Claude Allen had the southeast corner office on the second floor of the West Wing--IIRC, the office that used to be Bob Rubin's in 1993-95.
He is, according to Bush:
Washington Date Line: "a dedicated public servant and a tireless advocate for those in need. I look forward to his continued service in this new role as my domestic policy adviser," Bush said in a statement.... Allen, a former state Cabinet secretary under Gov. Jim Gilmore in Virginia, is a staunch advocate of federal spending to promote abstinence until marriage and a foe of abortion rights.... Sen. George Allen, R-Va., praised the president's choice, saying "Claude Allen has the right principles, experience in state and federal government and knowledge to serve the president and America very well." The two men are not related.
Claude Allen's selection was taken by an official of the conservative Family Research Council as "a sign the White House is interested in giving serious attention to important domestic issues." Jayd Henricks of that group said Allen's principles "seem to reflect those of the president and the values voters that came out en masse in November."