Rep. Joe Walsh wants ex-wife sanctioned in child support case
By Abdon M. Pallasch Political Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org September 7, 2011 7:26PM
Joe Walsh, R-McHenry, congressman from Illinois' 8th District, says he will run for the 14th District congressional seat next year. He is shown here addressing a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on July 27. | AP File Photo
Updated: November 9, 2011 12:47PM
Six days after the Sun-Times reported that Rep. Joe Walsh allegedly owes more than $100,000 in child support for three of his children, the McHenry Republican filed a motion seeking sanctions against his ex-wife.
Walsh’s attorneys sought the sanctions against Laura Walsh because they said she had not complied with their request in February to provide them voluminous documentation of her employment and salary records at pharmaceuticals manufacturer Eli Lilly as well as bank statements, tax returns and expense reports.
At that time, Joe Walsh’s attorneys had scheduled an April interview with Laura Walsh and said they needed the extensive documentation to prepare for it.
Laura Walsh’s attorney, Jack Coladarci, called that request “harassment” and said the issue was why Joe Walsh was not paying $117,000 of back child support and interest. Laura Walsh had no corresponding obligation to pay Joe Walsh any support, and so the extensive requests for documents were inappropriate, Coladarci said.
Walsh, 49, a telegenic favorite of the Tea Party movement, has loudly accused President Obama and his own party leaders of placing “debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids” and “bankrupting” the country. He is getting national attention for boycotting Thursday night’s address by President Obama to a joint session of Congress.
Because Walsh has been in Washington, D.C., serving in Congress, attorneys on both sides of the divorce/child support case agreed to put the interview of Laura Walsh and the request for documentation on hold until the session ended and both sides could meet to talk about a settlement, Coladarci said.
Walsh’s attorney, Steve Polachek, declined comment for this story but had previously told the Sun-Times that Laura Walsh’s side, not Joe Walsh’s side, was responsible for delays in settling the case.
Lawyers for both sides met a week and a half ago to try to resolve the child support dispute but they failed to reach any agreement, Coladarci said.
Walsh’s chief of staff, Justin Roth, declined to take any questions on Walsh’s motion for sanctions against his ex-wife. But he did explain why Walsh, who flew to Washington, D.C. Wednesday night, was flying home Thursday night to hold a town hall meeting rather than watch Obama’s address to a joint session of congress.
“He would rather hear from job creators as opposed to being used as a pawn by the president for a political speech,” Roth said. “He will meet with small business owners ... He would love to come back to D.C. with four or five [job creation] ideas and present that to the president.”
Walsh will fly back to Washington at 6 a.m. Friday, Roth said.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), asked what he thought about Walsh skipping the joint session, said Tuesday, “The joint session of Congress is in the Constitution. Even if you campaigned against [President Obama] you respect the office.”
Joe and Laura Walsh had been married 15 years when she filed for divorce in 2002. On numerous occasions over the last nine years, she went into court saying her ex-husband had fallen behind in his child support obligations. Joe Walsh’s employment and salary varied widely over the years.
He had paid little or nothing for two or three years — saying he had no money — when Laura Walsh noticed last year that he had loaned his campaign $35,000, and so she filed a motion asking a judge to order him to pay $117,000 back child support and interest, according to court documents.
Joe Walsh responded Feb. 28 with the request for financial information from Laura Walsh. The sanctions Joe Walsh’s attorneys asked in a filing file-stamped August 2 include asking Laura Walsh to pay Joe Walsh’s attorney’s fees.
“Laura’s failure to comply with discovery has been unreasonable,” Joe Walsh’s attorneys wrote.
The Sun-Times July 27 story about Walsh’s alleged child support debt prompted outcries from critics who picketed his office and prompted one talk show host to ban Walsh from his show until the matter is settled.