A tipster from Billings e-mailed me the worst kept secret in all of Montana politics:
Judge Russell Fagg is set to announce his candidacy for Senate.
As much as I appreciate the tipsters that help this site function, I really just wanted to reply to this e-mail, “duh?”
Mr. Fagg has made a mockery of judicial ethics by running a shadow campaign for Senate from the bench.
I wrote about this back in July, and the Billings Gazette took Fagg to task earlier this month.
It’s been pretty crystal clear, the only thing exploratory about Mr. Fagg’s candidacy has been exploring just how much of Montanan’s trust he can lose before announcing his candidacy.
To the naked eye, Mr. Fagg has been campaigning for the past few months. But Mr. Fagg insisted he was just exploring. And he was quick to remind everyone that he had checked with everyone to ensure this wasn’t against the law.
And Mr. Fagg is right. This hasn’t been against the law. But my mom used to say, “if you have to ask if what you’re doing is wrong, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”
Mr. Fagg seems to have confused “legal” with “ethical” which is a pretty sad mistake for a judge to make.
This exploratory campaign may have checked the legal boxes, but man does it smell.
If a person looks like a candidate, speaks like a candidate,raises money like a candidate, hires DC consultants like a candidate–he just might be a candidate.
A tipster passed along this e-mail from the Fagg “campaign”:
This is probably the last correspondence from Judge Fagg before he sheds the robe to reveal himself “Candidate Fagg”. Judge Fagg may have been able to wear those robes and feel that he had a certain amount of moral authority. But this non-campaign, campaign, has revealed him to be void of any ethics.
A wager for any of the rubes left who think Judge Fagg was doing anything other than seeking political office from the bench: if Judge Fagg actually becomes a private citizen, at a private law firm, and doesn’t seek elected office–I’ll eat my Montana Hat.