UPDATED 07/28/11 5:25 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Republican congressman who accused President Barack Obama of lying about the risks of not raising debt ceiling, is now accused of owing a six-figure sum in child support.
North suburban Congressman Joe Walsh might need an increase in his personal debt ceiling. As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, Walsh’s ex-wife is suing him for $117,000 in unpaid child support.
In a statement, Walsh said the story was false, labeling it as a “hit piece”
“I’ve always given everything I have to meet my financial obligations to my children and I will fight until my last breath against anyone who says otherwise,” Walsh said. “I’ve been trying to resolve this issue since January in a court of law, rather than drag my children into it. That is the appropriate venue and I will not discuss this private family issue in public.”
It’s not the first time there have been reports of troubles with Walsh’s personal finances – including a foreclosure on a condo and a period of unemployment.
But the Tea Party loyalists who enthusiastically backed the freshman congressman during his campaign last year still support him.
Walsh has developed an image of a brash politician unafraid to challenge President Barack Obama.
“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 YouTube video accusing President Obama of lying about the debt ceiling issue.
But Walsh’s ex-wife claims that the tea party favorite hasn’t been paying his kids’ child support. She’s sued him for more than $117,000 in back child support and interest.
“The guy is trying to tell the president how to run the country financially and he’s a deadbeat dad. It doesn’t work,” voter Terry Marcheschi said.
Sue Garrison said, “He should be paying that money to her. That’s something all men should do.”
In a court filing, Laura Walsh has claimed the congressman owes her $117,437 in back child support and interest – a debt that’s allegedly been growing since November 2005. The suit also claims Congressman Walsh paid nothing, not a cent, between April 2008 and December 2010.
“I think it’s a shame that the politicians talk one way, and do things another way,” voter Tom Marcheschi said. “It’s almost like do as I say and not as I do.”
But tea party supporters at the Palatine Inn Restaurant were much more willing to give Walsh a break.
“As long as he’s doing his job as a congressman, representing his constituents in what we would like, I think I’d judge first and foremost on that, because that would be his job,” Judy Almendaric said.
Fellow Walsh supporter Virginia Szigeti said, “Something between him and his wife should be dealt with between him and his wife.”
Laura Walsh filed to divorce Joe Walsh in 2002, after 15 years of marriage. They have three children.
Walsh’s attorney disputed that Walsh owes more than $117,000 in child support, saying the amount Walsh owes isn’t anywhere near that much.