|Director of the Domestic Policy Council|
January 5, 2005 – February 9, 2006
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Margaret Spellings|
|Succeeded by||Karl Zinsmeister|
|Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources|
January 17, 1998 – May 2001
|Preceded by||Robert C. Metcalf|
|Succeeded by||Louis F. Rossiter|
|Born||Claude Alexander Allen, Jr.
October 11, 1960
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Allen grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Law. He began his legal career in 1990 as a clerk for a federal judge, then was an associate with Baker Botts from 1991 to 1995 and the office of the Attorney General of Virginia from 1995 to 1998. From 1998 to 2001 Allen served as Secretary of Health and Human Services for the State of Virginia, and then became Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services under the George W. Bush administration.
The African-American Republican was appointed to his Assistant to the President position in January 2005. Allen resigned February 9, 2006, stating he wanted to spend more time with his family. On March 10, 2006, news broke that Allen had been repeatedly stealing from retail stores Target and Hecht's by engaging in a personal refund scheme. Allen was cited by police for shoplifting on January 2, 2006, which triggered an investigation that resulted in Allen's arrest on felony counts of theft on March 9, 2006. On August 4, 2006, as part of a plea bargain, Allen pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of theft.
Early life and education
Allen, a native of Philadelphia, grew up in a two-bedroom apartment in a working-class section of northwest Washington, D.C. He attended Archbishop Carroll High School, a Roman Catholic school. His mother worked part-time at a Catholic school; his father worked for a plumbing supply business. In a television interview, Allen said "Probably the vast majority of the kids who grew up in our neighborhood were either strung out on drugs or in jail or dead." Claude attended Jesse O. Sanderson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina from 1975 to 1978 where he participated in student government and ran track. His brother Floyd played football and was inducted into the Sanderson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
Career after college
Allen grew up in a Democratic household, but he took a job after college as press secretary for Bill Cobey, a Republican Congressional candidate in North Carolina. He switched parties, saying later, in an interview, "I realized after the fact that I agree more with the Republican Party platform, that it talked about independence, that it talked about individual responsibility, individual rights, it talked about the ability to guarantee opportunities, not outcomes."
Allen subsequently began working for Republican Senator Jesse Helms, of North Carolina; he was Helms' campaign spokesman in 1984. From 1985 to 1987, Allen was a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Law degree and subsequent career
From 1990 to 1991, Allen was a law clerk for David B. Sentelle, a judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, famous for his role in the Whitewater investigation. Allen met and became a protege of Clarence Thomas, who was a judge on that court at the time Allen was clerking there.
After his clerkship, Allen became an associate at Baker Botts in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1995. He then served in the Virginia Attorney General's Office from 1995 to 1998, before becoming Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
White House service
In 2001, Allen was appointed as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
In 2004, Allen was nominated by President George W. Bush to become a federal judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. His nomination was opposed by numerous educational, religious, and racial groups, including People for the American Way, the NAACP, and the National Organization for Women ( ). The American Bar Association rated him as partially "not qualified". His nomination was stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee and lapsed on December 8, 2005.
Allen was then appointed to the position of Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy in January 2005 where he was responsible for providing advice on all non-economic policy issues including education, health care, labor, housing, veterans, HIV/AIDS, and other domestic issues. While Head of the Domestic Policy Council, Allen jointly oversaw the White House Task Force that coordinated response to Hurricane Katrina along with the Homeland Security Council.
Allen has said of condom use, "It's like telling your child, 'Don't use the car,' but then leaving the keys in the Lamborghini and saying, 'But if you do, buckle up.'" He supports abstinence sex education.
Allen is pro-life. Journalist Doug Ireland wrote that when serving as Health and Human Services Commissioner in Virginia, Allen opposed certain legislation because it included taxpayer funding for abortions.
According to NNDB.com, "In 1984, as a press aide to Jesse Helms, Allen told the Greensboro News and Record: 'We could expound on and undertake a campaign against Jim Hunt's connections with the homosexuals, the labor union connection, the radical feminist connection, the socialist connection.'
Subsequent reports claim that Allen's precise words had actually been: 'We could go back and do the same thing with the queers[...]' [Allen then] he called the reporter back and apologized for his choice of words."
Arrest and plea
Allen was apprehended by Germantown Target store loss prevention manager Pete Schomburg on January 2, 2006. According to the charging document, Allen "admitted to Agent Schomburg that he was committing fraudulent returns". He was not formally charged until March after a review of security video and credit card activity showed similar behavior dating back to 2005. Police said he took items from the shelf and then 'returned them' for more than $5,000 to his credit card through about 25 similar transactions at other stores.
By all accounts Allen's behavior was bizarre given that his annual salary as an advisor was $160,000. He pleaded guilty to theft on August 4, 2006.
In September 2011, the D.C. Court of Appeals suspended his license to practice law in D.C. for one year, after his license to practice law was suspended for 30 days in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The opinion gave much discussion as to whether the act was one of moral turpitude, concluding that it was not.
Reactions to resignation and arrest
On February 10, 2006, the day following Allen's resignation, the Washington Times reported that "According to a military source, Allen resigned to protest the White House's refusal to lean on the Pentagon about the issue [of allowing military chaplains to be more explicit about their faith]." However, Allen denied these reports, stating that he had resigned to spend more time with his family.
After the arrest, Mallon Snyder, Allen's attorney, said he would prove the felony theft scheme allegations are "a series of misunderstandings."
President George W. Bush said on March 11, 2006, "If the allegations are true, Claude Allen did not tell my Chief of Staff and legal counsel the truth, and that's deeply disappointing. If the allegations are true, something went wrong in Claude Allen's life, and that is really sad. When I heard the story last night I was shocked. And my first reaction was one of disappointment, deep disappointment that—if it's true—that we were not fully informed. But it was also one — shortly thereafter, I felt really sad for the Allen family."
The weekend of March 11–12, 2006, Allen's church, Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, voiced support for their congregant. Senior Pastor Joshua Harris said that the church's pastors had remained in close contact with Allen since news of his arrest broke that Friday, March 10. Harris said, "Our role is not to provide legal counsel. Our concern is for his soul. Our desire—and Claude shares this—is for him to walk with humility and integrity."
The Huffington Post posted a racially charged opinion piece the day after Allen's arrest called "When Black Republicans Go Bad." The piece opined that Allen, along with other prominent black Republicans, "stake out ultra-right-wing positions perhaps to prove their bona fides to their white superiors."
Allen, a longtime evangelical Christian, is married to Jannese Mitchell Allen, and is the father of four children; including Claude Allen III, Lila-Cjoan Allen and Christian Isaiah Allen. The Allens are active members of the Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg.
- Former Top Bush Aide Accused of Md. Thefts, Washington Post – March 10, 2006
- Londono, Ernesto. "Ex-Aide to Bush Pleads Guilty," Washington Post. August 5, 2006. 
- Independent Judiciary, webpage on Allen nomination
- Senator Leahy press release
- White House press release
- Washington Post
- White House press release
- L. A. Weekly
- Talkingpoints Memo
- BBC News
- Washington Post – March 13, 2006
- Washington Times February 9, 2006
- White House press release
- Washington Post March 10, 2006
- White House press release
- Londono, Ernesto. "Admission Attributed to Bush's Ex-Aide," Washington Post. March 14, 2006. 
- When Black Republicans Go Bad
- Opposition statement by the National Abortion Federation to the nomination of Claude Allen to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
- U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Policy, resume of Claude A. Allen
- Nominations Sent to the Senate, White House Press Release, January 20, 2004.
- Personnel Announcement, White House Press Release, January 5, 2005.
- President Thanks Domestic Policy Advisor Claude Allen for Service, White House Press Release, February 9, 2006.
- Former Top Bush Aid Accused of Md. Thefts, Washington Post, March 10, 2006.
- When Black Republicans Go Bad at The Huffington Post, March 11, 2006.
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Director of the Domestic Policy Council