Access Denied Error when Approve/Reject on SharePoint Publishing Portal

I had a really weird error on a SharePoint Site based on Publishing Portal Site Template. The out of box approval workflow has been disabled. However, user can’t see the “Publish” button on the Page Edit Tool Bar even user has been given full access to the site. User can only Submit for Approval. After that if the user try to Approve or Reject on the dropdown menu, user will be able to see the page which allows user to choose “Approved”, “Pending” and “Rejected”. At this point, if user selects a status and clicks on OK button, SharePoint throws a very *friendly* error: Access Denied.

I spent about 4 hours on this including reactivating publishing features, enable/disable approval workflow. None of them worked.

Finally I tried to delete the web application (keep the content database), and then recreated a new web application/reattached the content database. It worked.

I forgot to make a copy of the web.config file so I couldn’t compare the old one with the new one. Very interesting problem though.

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