Administration

Sanders, Conway appear at Trump rally

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway joined President Trump on stage at a campaign rally in Indiana on Monday, praising their boss and urging voters to support Senate candidate Mike Braun (R).

The appearance by Sanders was unusual, as she is not a typical fixture at the president’s campaign rallies and past press secretaries have rarely participated in political events.

“Thank you Indiana. You’ll have to forgive Kellyanne and I, we’re maybe a little speechless. We’re not used to friendly crowds,” Sanders told the raucous, 13,000-person crowd at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

{mosads}She went on to praise the president for his accomplishments thus far, calling her role in the Trump administration “one of the greatest honors of my lifetime.”

She did not explicitly mention her White House title or Braun in her remarks, an apparent effort to skirt a federal law banning government employees from campaigning in their official capacities.

Conway wasted no time in directly attacking Braun’s opponent, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and also sought to emphasize that she was appearing in a “personal capacity” before laying into Braun’s opponent, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D). She was also careful to avoid mentioning her role as a White House staffer.

“Let me just say in my personal capacity, because this election is very personal to me, Joe must go,” Conway said. “Get him out.”

The appearance from two of Trump’s top surrogates stirred the crowd into a frenzy, but also raised ethics concerns that they used their official government jobs to campaign for a candidate, which would violate the federal law known as the Hatch Act.

Walter Shaub, the former head of the Office of Government Ethics, wrote on Twitter a short time after the two women left the stage that White House staff can speak at campaign rallies, but can’t use their government titles when doing so.

Both women have been the subject of multiple complaints from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog organization, related to the Hatch Act.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found in March that Conway violated the Hatch Act when she advocated against Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race.

Tags Donald Trump Hatch Act Joe Donnelly Joe Donnelly Kellyanne Conway Kellyanne Conway Mike Braun Sarah Huckabee Sanders United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub Walter Shaub

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