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Rep. Joe Walsh allegedly owing $100,000 in child support sums up enforcement issues

Updated: November 14, 2011 12:17AM

The sordid tale of freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh’s alleged staggering child-support debt puts more than the congressman’s hypocrisy on front street.

Walsh’s ability to get away with allegedly owing more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, while running for public office, gives us a good look at what’s wrong with the child support enforcement system.

Walsh, of course, disputes that he owes anywhere near the $117,437 that his wife claims he owes. But whatever the amount, the scenario is the same. Somehow this man — like all of the other deadbeat dads out here — has been able to get away with not financially supporting his children, according to his wife.

According to a report by Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Abdon M. Pallasch, Laura Walsh has been going in and out of court for nine years trying to collect child support from the man she was married to for 15 years.

At the time of the divorce, the couples’ three children were 15, 12 and 8. They are now 23, 20 and 16. Any parent knows that children are the most expensive to care for when they enter their teen years. But apparently that was the time that Joe Walsh was crying poor and fighting his wife’s child support claims.

In fact, Walsh’s lawyer, R. Steven Polachek, told Pallasch the claim of $117,437 debt was “unfounded,” and that Walsh hasn’t been a “big time wage-earner politician until recently.”

That makes me think that Walsh, who came out of nowhere to defeat Melissa Bean, was running to serve himself a fat paycheck rather than to serve his constituents.

As bad as all this looks, Walsh’s lawyer claims that the congressman “had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”

I can’t believe that response sits well with Walsh’s Tea Party supporters who characterize themselves as trying to do the right thing for their families and their country.

And let’s take a look at those average deadbeat dads who were recently arrested by the Cook County Sheriff’s Department during a Father’s Day sting.

Among those arrested was Cleveland Keys Jr., 46, who owns a barber shop in Evergreen Park. Keys owes $213,677.41 in child support. Byron Portis, 29, owes $59,227, and when investigators caught up with him, they found $44,000 stuffed in a bag and four loaded firearms. Cook County Sheriff’s police also nabbed Yaser Hadidi, 51, a man who had already been arrested five times for failure to pay $50,935.48 in child support. According to authorities, Hadidi had recently been arrested for LINK card fraud during a sting at his Bellwood liquor store.

Is there a pattern here?

Joe Walsh lost his Evanston condo to foreclosure and is being sued by his former campaign manager, Keith Liscio, for $20,000 in salary Liscio said he is owed, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Despite earlier revelations of foreclosures and property liens, Walsh managed to convince voters in his suburban district that he’s the “Average Joe” they need to represent them in the U.S. Congress.

That’s just sad.

While Walsh may have a wit quick enough to snag a sound bite, if he failed to diligently pay his child support, he is unfit to lead.

Indeed, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart is one week away from posting photographs of 1,000 deadbeat parents.

In most instances, sheriff’s police have to track these parents from one address to another because they tend to get paid under the table and pay for items in cash.

All four of the men pictured with the word “CAPTURED” stamped across their faces in the “deadbeat parents” section of the Cook County Sheriff’s website owe less than Walsh is accused of owing.

In fact, James L. Alexander, a 27-year-old West Side man, was locked up for owing $8,422 in back child support.

So while Walsh and his supporters will attempt to quash the heat he has gotten by characterizing the child support expose as a politically motivated attack, that’s not the case.

Simply put, elected officials are leaders and should set a positive example for the rest of us. Walsh misses the mark.

Because failing to provide for one’s children is as bad as it gets.

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