Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bush shocked by arrest of former adviser

Bush shocked by arrest of former adviser

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — President Bush on Saturday said he was shocked to learn that his former domestic policy adviser was charged with theft for allegedly receiving phony refunds at department stores.

Allen walks with Bush on the White House complex following a meeting of black religious and community leaders Jan. 25.
By J. Scott Applewhite, AP

"I was shocked and my first reaction was one of disappointment, deep disappointment — if it's true — that we were not fully informed," Bush said.

Claude Alexander Allen, 45, was arrested Thursday by police in Montgomery County, Md., for allegedly claiming refunds for more than $5,000 worth of merchandise he did not buy, according to county and federal authorities.

"If the allegations are true, Claude Allen did not tell my chief of staff or legal counsel the truth, and that's deeply disappointing" the president. "If the allegations are true, something went wrong in Claude Allen's life, and that is really sad."

Allen, named as domestic policy adviser in early 2005, resigned abruptly on Feb. 9, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Under investigation since at least January for alleged thefts on 25 occasions at Target and Hecht's stores, Allen had told White House chief of staff Andrew Card and White House counsel Harriet Miers there was some 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," press secretary Scott McClellan said late Friday.

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