This week, it was revealed that Republican activist and former Bush Administration official Claude Allen was arrested for theft and accused of conducting refund scams at several “big-box”retailers, including Target stores, in suburban Maryland. While media reports have focused on Allen’s positions held within the Bush Administration and White House, Allen is also known as a chief architect for anti-gay policy for the Bush Administration and within Republican circles.
Anti-Gay Attack Dog for Jesse Helms
As Press Secretary for Jesse Helms’ 1984 Senate campaign, Claude Allen infamously made a name for himself by attacking the Democratic candidate for his “connections with the homosexuals” and for his links “with the queers.“ (Greensboro News & Record, October 11, 1984)
The 1984 Helms communications strategy, overseen by Claude Allen employed heavy use of anti-gay materials and statements. On campaign mailing read “They spilled out into the streets, waving protest signs proclaiming: GAY rights are HUMAN rights, (Incidentally, do you resent – as I do – the corruption of the word ‘gay’? These people are NOT ‘gays’ – they are HOMOSEXUALS.). They’ve drawn a bull’s-eye on my campaign. So now, the homosexuals have hit us! And their attacks are having an effect…will you help me counter these latest attacks coming from the homosexuals?”
In the 1984 campaign, Claude Allen admitted that the campaign had mailed thousands of letters claiming that Senator Helms was under attack from gay fundraising efforts in New York, and that the campaign also mailed out cartoons with the Democratic candidate in a race car with the label “gay” placed over the door. (Helms Rips Hunt in Letter to Democrats, Raleigh News & Observer, April 11, 1984).
Architect of the Republican Party’s 2004 Anti-Gay Platform Planks
According to the Family Research Council, Claude Allen was a chief author of the anti-gay planks that were central to the 2004 Republican Party national platform. Among other items, the planks co-written by Allen with anti-gay activists lambasted parenting by same-sex couples, marriage equality, and urged Congress to pass a law preventing courts from ruling on marriage access issues “so that activist federal judges cannot force 49 other states to approve and recognize Massachusetts’ attempt to redefine marriage.” (Washington Update, Family Research Council, February 09, 2006)
Darling of the Most Extreme Anti-Gay Activists
Friend of the Family Research Council When Claude Allen resigned his White House position after being arrested for scamming Target stores in suburban Maryland, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins immediately lamented the loss. “He will leave a void in the White House policy-making apparatus. He has always been a strong ‘friend of the family.’” Perkins also called on President Bush to appoint an ideological copy of Claude Allen to fill the vacant position created by his resignation “We hope the President chooses another stalwart defender of family values. We need such an appointment. More importantly, George W. Bush needs one.” (Washington Update, Family Research Council, February 09, 2006)
While on the federal government payroll, Claude Allen was a frequent guest of anti-gay groups, participating in lobbying events organized by the Family Research Council.
(Washington Update, Family Research Council, October 12, 2005)
Promoter of Junk Science
In his position at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Claude Allen promoted abstinence-only policies over programs based in science, and even denied the effectiveness of disease-prevention measures such as condoms.
In 2004, twelve Democratic Members of Congress – led by Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) – wrote HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt to complain of Claude Allen’s subversion of science in favor of an ideological agenda saying that the “pattern of events [that suggest] that scientific decision-making is being subverted by ideology.” The Members of Congress specifically cited the removal of scientific information from HHS websites (including safer-sex information and information related to gay health issues), the stacking of advisory committees with abstinence-only and anti-gay activists, and the use of audits to harass grant applicants into conforming with an ideological agenda.
(Letter to HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, July, 2004)
Claude Allen has inaccurately claimed that apart from some protection against the HIV virus and gonorrhea in men, condoms “do not accurately protect against other sexually transmitted diseases.” The National Institutes of Health subsequently rebuffed Allen’s claim in 2001.
Claude Allen pushed for the exclusive promotion of abstinence-only education as the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Virginia. Allen was in opposition to allowing students information on effectiveness of condoms in reducing sexually transmitted diseases. He justified his position by stating “its like telling your child ‘don’t use the car,’ but then leaving the keys to the Lamborghini and saying ‘But if you do, buckle up.’”
(Report on the Nomination of Claude Allen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Alliance for Justice)
Rejected by the United States Senate as Too “Unqualified”
In 2005, the United States Senate REJECTED Claude Allen and refused to consider his nomination to the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. During his consideration, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed his opposition to the appointment by stating that “[Allen] has shown himself to be extreme with a reputation for recalcitrance and an unwillingness to work with others of differing views. A judge needs to be able to consider facts and legal arguments that might contradict the outcome he would personally like.”(Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, July 08, 2004)