One month ago, I wondered why Bush’s domestic advisor resigned. Now we know:
A former adviser to President Bush was arrested this week in Maryland and charged with swindling two department stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scam.
Montgomery County police said Claude Allen, 45, was arrested Thursday and charged with carrying out a felony theft scheme at Target and Hecht’s stores. He was released on his own recognizance.
Conviction on the charges can result in a 15-year prison sentence.
Authorities accuse Allen of going to stores on more than 25 occasions and buying items, taking them to his car and then returning to the store with his receipt where he would carry out the alleged scam.
"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," a statement from Montgomery County police said.
The items ranged from a Bose theater system to a photo printer to clothing to small items valued at $2.50, police said.
Allen resigned without explanation in early February as Bush’s top domestic political adviser. Allen had long been a darling among the conservative right — and Bush had even nominated him to be a federal appeals court judge in 2003, but Democrats blocked the move.
In announcing Allen’s resignation, Bush called him a "trusted adviser" who helped "develop policies that will strengthen our nation’s families, schools and communities."
"Claude is a good and compassionate man, and he has my deep respect and my gratitude. I thank him for his many years of principled and dedicated service to our country," Bush said in a statement issued on February 9.
A petty thief. These are the people the President surrounds himself with.
And now a quote from January 6, 2005:
"Claude Allen will be a strong voice in the administration on policy decisions affecting the family," says Family Research Council President Tony Perkins
Gee, I guess it was good that the Democrats filibustered his nomination to the circuit court bench, eh?
UPDATE: Josh Marshall has another Claude Allen flashback:
In the early days of the Katrina Debacle, the White House response was being coordinated by none other than Claude Allen.
Logical choice, of course: get your guy in charge of abstinence education and school prayer policy and banning abortion to run disaster management.
Maybe he was too busy waiting in the return line at Hecht’s to focus on the hurricane stuff.