During his unsuccessful campaign to be reelected to Congress, outspoken former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh could never quite live down the label of "deadbeat dad" -- and on Monday, the issue of his child support payments resurfaced yet again.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported late Monday afternoon that Walsh, a Tea Party Republican favorite who represented Illinois' 8th District, filed a request on Feb. 1 in Cook County Circuit Court to drastically reduce his child support obligation due to his employment being "terminated through no voluntary act of his own."
In the filing, according to the Sun-Times, Walsh's attorneys claimed the ex-congressman does not have adequate income with which to make payments such as the $2,134 payment his former wife Laura Walsh's attorney claims he skipped last month.
The report going live and being almost immediately picked up by a number of political blogs prompted Walsh to lash out against Sun-Times reporter Natasha Korecki. On his website, he announced that he would be suing the newspaper for libel:
"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."
Walsh further denied that he was stopping support -- instead, he is aiming for his support payment to be reduced to 20 percent of his net income through his youngest, 18-year-old son's graduation from high school this May, given his unemployment. Walsh wrote in the post that he "expect(s) to be employed again very soon." According to Fox Chicago, he is currently weighing "two very interesting opportunities" -- one in local media and another in politics.
The ex-congressman's complaints also prompted a series of tweets:
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 12, 2013
Jack Coladarci, Laura Walsh's attorney, countered that Walsh had a three-months heads up on his January unemployment and should have planned accordingly, the Daily Herald reports. Indeed, last December, Walsh -- who once described himself as "the poorest member of Congress" -- said finding a job in January was high on his list of priorities.
"Our position is that this is something that was foreseen and could have been planned for," Coladarci told the paper.
Walsh was defeated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth in the suburban Chicago district last fall. As for his post-Congress life, Walsh announced last week that he is launching a super PAC "to support freedom-loving conservative alternatives to Karl Rove." He is also rumored to be close to inking a deal with a Chicago talk radio station and has hinted at both a possible Senate and Illinois gubernatorial run.
Walsh was also in the headlines last week when he lashed out against first lady Michelle Obama for her decision to attend slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton's funeral in Chicago.
UPDATE: In response to Walsh's threat of a lawsuit, Sun-Times editor Jim Kirk told TalkingPoints Memo they "stand by the story."
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