The ex-wife of Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is suing the lawmaker for $117,437 in child support back payments and interest, the Chicago Sun-Times reported late Wednesday, creating a potential headache for the tea party freshman as he seeks re-election in 2012.
Walsh's ex-wife, Laura Walsh, said she was surprised to discover the candidate had loaned his campaign $35,000 after arguing he was unable to make child support payments because he was unemployed or between jobs. (Walsh works on and off as a financial consultant and venture capitalist.) Laura Walsh filed for divorce in December 2002 and has been battling in and out of court with Walsh over child support since.
Walsh's attorney disputed the amount for which he is being sued, calling it "unfounded."
Walsh has quickly earned a reputation on Capitol Hill for his caustic verbal attacks and his hard-line fiscal conservatism. Expect Democrats to use Walsh's child support issues against him as he continues to lecture the president and Democrats in Congress on reducing the national debt and improving the nation's fiscal health for future generations.
"I won't place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!" Walsh says in a recent angry web video addressed to President Obama, the Sun-Times notes. "Come on, President Obama. Quit scaring the American people ... Lead, for a change."
Walsh was perhaps one of the biggest underdogs in the 2010 campaign. With no personal wealth and few votes of confidence from establishment Republicans, he defeated sitting Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean. This time around, the GOP establishment is giving him more backing. Just yesterday, he received an endorsement from the fiscally conservative Club for Growth--a significant endorsement given that redistricting could pit Walsh against Rep. Randy Hultgren in the 2012 GOP primary.