Arkansas State Rep. Hudson Hallum from West Memphis has plead guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit election fraud, among other challenges.
Congressman Hallum and three others with West Memphis ties admitted to bribing voters in a special election in 2011. Hallum said on Wednesday that pleading guilty to voter fraud was one of the worst days of his life.
"I spent my whole life giving back to my community. Helping others is what I love to do, is all I know to do," he told FOX13. "I took something from them, that was their trust."
Hallum was a first time politician as a Democratic state representative in the Marion and West Memphis area. About six months ago he was visited by the FBI and says he cooperated with authorities from that point on.
The indictment on Hallum said his strategy to get votes was to sign constituents up for absentee ballots and make sure those ballots made it back to the county to be counted, as long as the vote was cast for him, breaking laws for handling the absentee ballots and for disposing of ballots cast for his opponent.
The indictment says he also offered chicken dinners, vodka and even cash for votes.
He plead guilty and wants his constituents to know he is sorry and is taking responsibility for his actions.
Hallum won his primary run off by just eight votes and went on to win the special general election. This all happened in 2011, with much of the campaigning happening in May of that year.
"When my election was going on, it was during the flood," he said. "Half my district was underwater. I'd be out visiting with people and people would talk about they were hungry, hadn't eaten. Who was running for office is the last thing on their mind. They'd say, we need something to eat. You know, we'll talk about it. At that time I absolutely didn't think that me taking somebody something to eat during the disaster was wrong."
Rep. Hallum is facing up to five years in prison.
He hopes cooperating with authorities will help him avoid that. His sentencing will likely be sometime next year.
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