Tea Party hero Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) wants to wipe out the nation’s debt, but he’s got some major personal debt that his ex-wife is demanding he take care of - $117,437 in child support, according to a lawsuit revealed by the Chicago Sun-Times.The suit charges that Walsh enjoyed foreign vacations with his new girlfriend while claiming he couldn’t pay support for his three kids because he was out of work.Walsh’s attorney, R. Steven Polachek, told the Sun-Times the claim is unfounded.“I dispute that he owes the child support that she’s claiming or anywhere near that amount,” he said. “Joe Walsh hasn’t been a big-time wage-earner politician until recently — he’s had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”
Attorneys for both Walsh, a telegenic Tea Party hero known for his boisterous and uncompromising proclamations, and his ex-wife, Laura, a pharmaceutical attorney to whom he was married for 15 years but split in 2002, blame each other for stalling in the case, the Sun-Times said. The couple’s three children are now 23, 20 and 16 years old.Citing court documents from December, the Sun-Times wrote that before his successful 2010 campaign Walsh told his ex-wife he could not make child support payments because he was either out of work or between jobs. Walsh loaned his campaign $35,000.Laura Walsh also claims that while Walsh was failing to make child support payments, he took vacations to Mexico and Italy with a new girlfriend and traveled to Nicaragua with one of their children.In one filing, Laura Walsh’s attorneys wrote: “The apparent availability of large sums of money from either his employment, his family or his campaign has allowed him to live quite a comfortable lifestyle, while at the same time, due to his failure to pay child support or any of his share of the education costs or medical expenses, Laura and his children were denied any of these advantages.”Court records also show Walsh objected to paying for a summer camp or a homecoming suit for his children, the Sun-Times wrote.The child support issue is hardly Walsh’s only legal problem. He’s being sued by a former campaign manager and was accused of failing to file financial disclosure statements on time.Walsh’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.