Former AR judge admits bribing with federal funds for campaign donations

Former Ouachita County Judge James Hesterly admitted to bribery with federal funds in exchange for a campaign donation Wednesday.

According to Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, James Hesterly, 50, of Camden, pleaded guilty to one count of bribery concerning a program receiving federal funds and could face up to 10 years in prison.

Hesterly and Harry Clemons Jr., 39, of Bearden, were indicted in January 2013 for a scheme to award a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster-relief contract to Clemons by rigging the bidding process in return for a contribution to Hesterly’s 2010 reelection campaign for Ouachita County Judge. Hesterly had been the county judge of Ouachita County Arkansas for the past 10 years.

at The Arkansas Project.

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.