Tea party Congressman owes $117k in child support

Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh: Fiscally irresponsible

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, the tea party-backed Republican who squeaked into office last year by vowing to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington and who has been one of President Barack Obama‘s most outspoken critics during the standoff over the debt ceiling, is being sued for more than $100,000 in unpaid child support, a newspaper reported.

The freshman congressman’s ex-wife, Laura Walsh, filed the claim against him in December as part of their divorce case, saying he owed $117,437 to her and their three children, the Chicago Sun-Times reported in a story published Wednesday. She contends that Walsh loaned his own campaign $35,000 and took international vacations but said he couldn’t afford child support payments because he was between jobs or out of work.

“Joe personally loaned his campaign $35,000, which, given that he failed to make any child support payments to Laura because he ‘had no money’ is surprising,” Laura Walsh’s attorneys wrote in the motion. “Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself.”

Walsh, whose campaign was marked by allegations of financial mismanagement, said he thought he and his ex-wife were coming to an agreement on the money owed, according to a February court filing. His attorney, R. Steven Polachek, denied that the congressman owed $117,437 in back child support and interest and said the amount was much less.

“I dispute that he owes the child support that she’s claiming or anywhere near that amount,” Polachek said. “Joe Walsh hasn’t been a big-time wage-earner politician until recently — he’s had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”

Joe and Laura Walsh were married for 15 years when she filed for divorce in 2002. He has since remarried.

A phone message left Thursday at Walsh’s congressional office wasn’t immediately returned, and his spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Walsh, 49, unexpectedly captured his northeastern Illinois district last year by a slim margin, campaigning on a promise to reign in government spending and promoting his conservative values, among other things. He has recently gained notoriety for speaking out against the president and accusing him of lying about the impact of not raising the national debt ceiling.

“President Obama, quit lying,” he said in a video posted online this month. In it he also asks Obama, “Have you no shame, sir?”

Walsh said there is “plenty of money” to pay debt and cover Social Security even if the limit isn’t raised, and that Obama won’t get congressional approval to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit unless the Democratic president backs a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which Obama opposes. Obama says the country will default if Congress doesn’t raise the ceiling by Aug. 2.

The congressman’s alleged financial problems made headlines while he was campaigning last year, when at least one staffer claimed he would “spend, spend, spend uncontrollably.” His campaign manager quit and sued for $20,000 in nonpayment, and two other staffers who quit accused him of not properly disclosing a 2008 home foreclosure and traffic citations to the public, taking their grievances public. Walsh also bounced checks, including one to a Republican fundraiser.

A Walsh spokesman at the time called it a smear campaign by disgruntled workers and said the congressman had learned from his financial struggles, including the foreclosure.

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Information from: Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/index

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4 Responses to "Tea party Congressman owes $117k in child support"

  1. Jon  July 29, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Yep, he learned a great deal from his financial struggles.

    He learned:

    That if you thump the Bible and shout loudly enough, a sufficient fraction of the electorate will forgive you anything, including acting directly in contradiction to your own words…

    That debts aren’t really something you have to repay. That to have and to hold ’til death may you part is optional. That checks don’t need to be honored. That it’s always someone else’s fault…

    And I may not be an average guy, but:

    ” he’s had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”

    I don’t have *any* problems with child support. Is that “average”?

    J.

  2. Sandune  July 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

    It may just be the average. I had no problem until my husband remarried and the new Mrs. Price took over the money management. She divorced him and was left without a dime and the old man married again and again. Not certain how many children he fathered but my kids did not even know he had abandoned us. That’s when I took in sewing along with my 40 hour a week job and the sewing became a better money maker. Why do women have children these days? My girls saw how others strugged when their husbands wandered. They are content priofessional women who will always be able to pay their own way. They are smarter than I was.

    Men will support women who sleep with them. It is a simple rule to remember.

    • Jon  July 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      I was of the opinion that the problem was that he was NOT supporting a woman who slept with him (presumably at least three times).

      Was your point that men stop supporting women when they stop sleeping (let’s stop it with the sleeping, try screwing) them?

      J.

  3. Lisa Large  July 29, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Another case of a politician who needs to ‘sweep his own doorstep’ before he criticizes others.

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