Get a Job, DUDE!
This has been quite a busy month for ex-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) [possibly the busiest he’s been in two years?] On February 5, 2013, Walsh tweeted his intention to kick off the GOP version of Clash of the Titans:
He was, of course, referring to the launch of the Conservative Victory Project, a new initiative by the Karl Rove-linked super PAC American Crossroads to prevent TEA Party yahoos from blowing elections that the Rove-backed establishment yahoos could blow for themselves.
Meanwhile, Walsh has been firing off public teasers, responding to the [alleged] clamor from his constituents that he run for the US Senate, or maybe for Governor of Illinois, whatever. Walsh also has a brand new Facebook and Twitter presence—Walsh Freedom—to keep his fan club informed of his “next moves.”
And, while he was busy “filing papers” for his new PAC, I guess he decided to clear up any other legal loose ends and “filed papers” to terminate his famous child support arrangement because . . . NO JOB!
According to Walsh’s court filing:
Joe’s employment has been terminated through no voluntary act of his own and he is without sufficient income or assets with which to continue to pay his support obligation. Due to a substantial change in circumstances, Joe requests that his child support obligation be terminated based on his present income and circumstances.
Now wait just a gol-dern minute there, I would argue that “Joe’s employment has been terminated” by the voters of his district because Joe “voluntarily” made a flaming asshat of himself at every possible opportunity such that, at their earliest convenience, they fired him.
Walsh’s lawyer, Janet Boyle said:
Nobody’s saying he’s not going to pay anything,” Boyle said. “All we are saying is that Mr. Walsh’s circumstances have changed and he, like every other father in the state, is entitled to seek a modification ... If he doesn’t make any more money for the next four months, why would he continue paying $2,134?
We take your point, Ms Boyle, but, like every other father in the state, he’s also bound by his prior order until the court grants a modification.
Walsh’s ex-wife’s attorney said:
. . . that the former congressman is behind on child support payments that were dictated under a previous court order and that Walsh’s ex-wife was taken by surprise by a Feb. 1 court filing that asks “to terminate child support obligation,” saying Walsh “is without sufficient income or assets with which to continue to pay his support obligation.”
This is the first communication we’ve received from the congressman; she had no information prior to receiving this filing in the mail that he was going to seek,” said Jack Coladarci, an attorney for Walsh’s ex-wife. “He did not pay January and he has not paid February support… You still have to keep paying until the judge says you can stop.
To be fair, Walsh had a three-months heads up on his January unemployment and might have planned accordingly.
This may all seem a little deja vu-ish because it is. Oddly enough, Joe Walsh filed a similar action in 2011 [when he commenced sucking on the government teat] complaining that a US Representative’s six-figure salary was just too paltry for anyone to reasonably expect him to pay child support. [An unusual statement for someone whose financial disclosures showed him making between $30 - $40K—in a good year.]
For a guy with five kids, Walsh seems to take a pretty cavalier approach to providing for them. A glance at his resume shows a—shall we say—varied work experience.
1985 BA in English from University of Iowa
Mid 1980’s Embarked on acting career, attending Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute in New York City and Los Angeles
1991 Back to school MPP from University of Chicago
A number of jobs described as social work by New York Times
Taught American History at Oakton Community College
Gig at Heartland Institute - a Libertarian Free Market think tank
Consultant for United Republican Fund—a PAC dedicated to getting Republicans elected to Illinois State government
Venture Capitalist at Ravenswood Advisors—a Chicago boutique investment bank
When Walsh entered Congress he was fond of pointing out that he was proud to be the poorest member of the incoming freshman. That’s something of an understatement, since his net worth, as calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics was a negative $317,498.
When Walsh’s wife saw him loaning $35K to his campaign while he was behind in child support, she squealed [who wouldn’t].
Here’s a report on the 2011 court filing from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Walsh now claims he didn’t pay $117,000 in back child support payments that he owes, because he and his wife reached a “verbal agreement” that he would stop sending money because he had none (after being elected to a six-figure salaried job in Congress).
In a court filing in December, 2011, a month after [Joe Walsh] was elected, [ex-wife Laura Walsh] said he stopped paying child support because, he told her, he didn’t have any money.
The congressman, in a court filing Thursday, says he wasn’t making much money, his ex-wife was making good money, and their kids were spending more time with him than with her.
As a result, he could have gone to court and sought a modification of his child-support obligations, though he didn’t take that official step, his attorney said in the court filing.
“He reasonably relied on Laura’s representations and conduct, to his detriment,” the court filing says.
Walsh said he and his wife decided not to formalize their “verbal agreement” in court because “Joe and his former wife were both tired of court appearances and the resulting emotional and financial impact on the family. Neither party had the financial or emotional wherewithal to continue the battle.”
Laura Walsh’s attorney denied that.
Ah yes, the old “verbal agreement” with the higher-earning wife defense . . .
So the Walsh’s wrangled and wrangled, a judge rebuked Walsh for not showing up at a hearing, and the media explored the irony of an Obama-bashing fiscal conservative deficit hawk being a “Deadbeat Dad.” Finally, the Walsh’s came to a settlement, child support payments started to flow out of Congressman Walsh’s paychecks and, in a joint statement, the Walsh’s whited-out the Deadbeat Dad tag and restored the Congressman’s sterling reputation.
Walsh, who acknowledges he has “a few isolated dings like a lot of people do,” says it’s not a pattern.
Walsh’s “few dings” include almost $30K in tax liens going back to 1992, a 2009 foreclosure and having his wages garnished for back child support.
In an interview last spring shortly after news of the foreclosure broke, Walsh pointed out that financial problems should have no effect on a candidate’s eligibility. But, perhaps, a lifetime record of financial mismanagement should . . .
Silver Lining: there’s a chance that Walsh’s money problems will soon be over because a) his youngest child turns 18 in May and b) he plans to sue the Chicago Sun-Times for having a vendetta against him:
The story stated and implied that I did not want to make child support payments and was behind on payments. Both statements are false. I have never shirked my financial responsibility for my children. … The Sun Times has had a vendetta against me since I was first elected. I will no longer take it. I have had to live with the “deadbeat dad” label, even though the original case against me was dropped one year ago, and my ex-wife acknowledged that I have always been a loving and supportive father.
Well, Joe, I don’t find it so unreasonable that a public court filing “to terminate child support payments” might be construed as “not want[ing] to make child support payments.” And, yes, the original case was “dropped” because you and your ex came to a settlement that resulted in the withdrawal of $2K/month from your paycheck. And yes your “ex-wife acknowledged that [you] have always been a loving and supportive father” [just in time for a re-election campaign].
And perhaps it’s not really a “vendetta” when the media reports on the asshat, teabagger, publicity-hound sound bytes you produced—word for word.
Good luck with the lawsuit, Joe. And here’s hoping that no one is ever foolish enough to elect you to public office again.