U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., who has embodied the Tea Party's emphasis on fiscal responsibility by consistently espousing a message of government living within its means, is being sued for owing more than $100,000 in child support.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Walsh's ex-wife Laura filed a claim against him as part of their divorce case, charging that Walsh owed $117,437 to her and their three children. Walsh had claimed he did not have the financial wherewithal to pay, and his attorney R. Steven Polachek said that his client "hasn't been a big-time wage-earner politician until recently" -- something that seems to be contradicted by the fact that he loaned 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."
A court file examined by the Sun-Times illustrates a history of conflict over child care payments since Walsh and his wife split in 2002. Laura repeatedly sought legal action to make Joe pay his share, noting that he took vacations with his girlfriend to Italy and to Mexico while claiming poverty.
Walsh is part of an influx of Tea Party freshmen who swept into power in 2010, propelled by a sense of anger at the economy and a promise to curtail government spending. In a recent video, he addressed President Barack Obama's warnings about the repercussions of failing to raise the debt ceiling by telling the president to "quit lying," adding "Have you no shame, sir?"
Rumors of financial mismanagement also surrounded Walsh's campaign, with one staffer charging that he would ""spend, spend, spend uncontrollably" and another staffer quitting over not being paid $20,000.