Rene Kinzett, 43, from Swansea, had videos on his laptop of children as young as three being sexually abused, a court heard.
He admitted 14 charges between 2008 and September 2017, including sending pictures and videos to other people.
Sentencing was delayed on Tuesday after Kinsett was dropped by his lawyers.
He owed thousands in legal fees and told Snaresbrook Crown Court he had been forced into a “terrible job” as a pizza delivery driver.
The 2010 Conservative Swansea West candidate, 2005 Liberal Democrat candidate and former Swansea councillor was bailed to be sentenced on 14 January.
He used social messaging apps Whatsapp and Kik to send images to others, and admitted watching child abuse on a video conferencing website called Zoom, the court was told.
Kinsett said he recently found employment with the Co-operative supermarket chain but was in the process of applying for legal aid after paying more than £30,000 to his former legal representatives Martin Cray.
“They asked me for another £2,000 after I paid for the psychiatric report then asked for another £2,500 and I couldn’t pay it,” he told the court.
“They threatened to pull out. They said last week ‘if you can give us £1,500’. I offered £1,000.
“I had to go find another lawyer who has taken it with legal aid,” he said, adding the application would be completed this week.
He was told he was facing prison for the crimes, which include distributing, making and possessing abuse images of the most serious category.
Judge Neil Sanders said: “Custody is a matter in serious play here.
“It’s right that when custody is an issue that the matter is dealt with Mr Kinzett represented.”