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HUD: Carson did not violate Hatch Act at Trump rally

HUD: Carson did not violate Hatch Act at Trump rally
© Greg Nash

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Thursday that Ben CarsonBen CarsonGovernment indoctrination, whether 'critical' or 'patriotic,' is wrong Noem takes pledge to restore 'patriotic education' in schools Watchdog blames Puerto Rico hurricane relief delays on Trump-era bureaucracy MORE, the agency's secretary, did nothing wrong in appearing alongside President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix, Ariz. 

"His travel and lodging were not paid for by the department. He was there in his personal capacity. He didn't discuss HUD during the speech," Jerry Brown, a spokesman for the agency, told ABC News

Carson has faced questions since Tuesday's rally about whether his appearance violated the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting executive branch employees from using their positions for political causes. 

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That law, however, doesn't bar such employees from appearing at campaign events in a personal capacity, according to one legal expert who spoke to ABC News. 

Some critics have pointed to the fact that Carson was introduced by his official title when he delivered opening remarks at the rally. 

Brown told ABC News it was the Trump campaign — not the government — that paid for Carson's expenses on the trip. 

Carson isn't the first Trump official to face accusations of violating the Hatch Act. White House social media director Dan Scavino was reprimanded by the Office of Special Counsel in June for breaking the law after he tweeted a call for Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' Battle rages over vaccine passports MORE (R-Mich.) to be defeated in his 2018 primary.