BILLINGS (AP) – An ethics panel says a sitting Montana judge is doing nothing wrong in exploring a run for the U.S. Senate.

Montana’s Judicial Standards Commission concluded late last month that District Judge Russell Fagg’s decision to create an exploratory committee does not violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The Billings Gazette reports the Montana Democratic Party has argued Fagg is violating a rule that says judges cannot publicly identify themselves as a candidate for a political office. Fagg is a Republican.

The commission found Fagg has not identified himself as a candidate, but has said that he’s “testing the waters,” for a potential run against Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Fagg has said he’ll decide his political future after he retires from the bench in October.

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