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Bush Court Nominee Who Used Homophobic Epithet Arrested For Theft


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Bush Court Nominee Who Used Homophobic Epithet Arrested For Theft

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

March 11, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Washington) A former aide nominated twice by President Bush to the Court of Appeals has been arrested suburban Maryland.

Claude Allen, 45, was arrested by Montgomery County police for allegedly claiming refunds for more than $5,000 worth of merchandise he did not buy.

Allen was the No. 2 official in the Health and Human Services Department when Bush nominated him in April 2003 to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. Bush nominated Allen to the court again a year later, but he never received a Senate vote.

During his confirmation hearing, Allen was questioned about his use of the word "queer" when he was a press aide to Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., in 1984. Allen said he didn't intend it as a slur against gay people.

In early 2005, Bush hired Allen as a domestic policy adviser. He resigned abruptly on Feb. 9, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Allen has been under investigation since at least January for the alleged thefts on 25 occasions at Target and Hecht's stores, said police spokesman Lt. Eric Burnett.

Burnett said that Allen would buy items, take them to his car, then return to the store with his receipt. He would select the same items, then take them to the store return desk and show the receipt from the first purchase. Using that method, he would receive credit for the second items on his credit cards, Burnett said.

Allen was allegedly seen Jan. 2 at a Target in Gaithersburg, Md., taking items off the shelf that he then took to the return desk. He had a receipt for the merchandise, was given a refund and left.

The items he allegedly received fraudulent refunds for included clothing, a Bose theater system and stereo equipment. Some purchases were for as little as $2.50.

The night of Jan. 2, after the alleged incident at the Target in Gaithersburg, he called White House chief of staff Andy Card to inform him of what had happened. The next morning, he spoke again, this time in person, with Card and White House counsel Harriet Miers, assuring them it was all a misunderstanding, press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Allen told his bosses there was merely confusion with his credit card because he had moved several times. "He assured them that he had done nothing wrong and the matter would be cleared up," McClellan said.

During his 2003 confirmation hearings for the Court of Appeals Allen was grilled by Democrats about his use of the word "queer"

In 1984 when Helms was running against North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt, Allen was quoted by a North Carolina reporter as using the word. In the interview, Allen said Hunt was vulnerable because his campaign could be "linked with the queers." He went on to say that the Hunt campaign could be connected with homosexuals, labor unions, radical feminists and socialists.

Allen told the Senate Judiciary Committee he meant the word in the sense of "odd, out of the ordinary, unusual" instead of as a slur against gays.

Sen. d*** Durbin (D-IL) asked Allen, "Do you understand how some people in America might take your use of this word ‘queers’ as being negative, to denigrate them, and not respectful?"

"Senator, absolutely, and that is the exact reason why that at the time I used the word, I sought to correct the record so that it would not be understood to denigrate any individual or any group," Allen replied.

Allen was released on his own recognizance by a Montgomery District Court judge.

Before joining the Bush administration, Allen was Virginia Health and Human Resources secretary.

©365Gay.com 2006

with files from The Associated Press

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