Rep. Joe Walsh: Sun-Times story on child support issues a ‘hit piece’
BY LYNN SWEET Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief July 28, 2011 2:10PM
Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois' 8th District addresses a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. | Harry Hamburg~Associated Press
Updated: July 29, 2011 1:39PM
WASHINGTON — Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) on Thursday said a Chicago Sun-Times article about his ex-wife suing him for back child support was a “hit piece” but that his financial troubles do not erode his credibility as an outspoken opponent of government spending in the congressional debate on raising the debt ceiling.
“It is not lost on me that a court case filed almost eight months ago regarding a marriage that ended more than eight years ago would be brought up today,” Walsh said in a statement, referring to showdown votes in Congress over raising the debt ceiling as an Aug. 2 default deadline looms.
“We are 72 hours away from one of the biggest decisions our country has to make about its financial future. I understand why this is a story and why the media has to ask me about it. I understood as a candidate, and I understand as a sitting member of Congress that the scrutiny of my personal life will be intense. This is a tough business. It’s also not lost on me that not everyone agrees with me politically, I am the tip of the spear in this current debate, and I will be attacked. ...
“These latest attacks against me are false and I will fight them in the appropriate venue. And as your Congressman I promise you that I am going to put my head down, get back to work and continue to fight for our freedoms and our children’s future. I’m not going to let some hit piece in the media deter me from that.”
The story, by Sun-Times political writer Abdon M. Pallasch, was based on court documents examined by the newspaper for a profile on the outspoken Walsh, a freshman lawmaker who has taken on an increasingly high profile in the debt ceiling debate.
Pallasch found the documents in the divorce file Tuesday, wrote the article Wednesday and it ran in the Sun-Times Thursday.
The court documents revealed that Walsh’s ex-wife, Laura has been in a nine-year child support battle with Walsh, with her raising new claims after Walsh was elected last November. Laura Walsh is asking for $117,437.
Walsh lawyer R. Steven Polachek, called the claim of a $117,437 debt “unfounded” and told Pallasch “I dispute that he owes the child support that she’s claiming or anywhere near that amount.”
The Sun-Tmes article said, “Before getting elected, [Walsh] had told Laura Walsh that because he was out of work or between jobs, he could not make child support payments. So she was surprised to read in his congressional campaign disclosures that he was earning enough money to loan his campaign $35,000.
“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 a motion filed in December seeking $117,437 in back child support and interest. “Joe has paid himself back at least $14,200 for the loans he gave himself.”
In a Thursday morning interview on CNN with anchor Kyra Phillips, Walsh was asked whether he was concerned that the child support back claims would impact his credibility in the debt debate.
Replied Walsh, ”I ran as a guy who lost his home and had had financial struggles like a lot of Americans. Absolutely not. This is where a lot of Americans come from right now. It’s why they sent so many of us to Washington to do something about this because we’re living this experience.”
Walsh is a frequent guest on political shows. On Thursday morning, he appeared on CBS as well as CNN.
In his statement, Walsh said, “I have tried to be the most accessible Congressman on the planet and I will continue to do so moving forward. These latest attacks against me are false and I will fight them in the appropriate venue.”