Rep. Joe Walsh, Tea Party-Ill., has settled his child support dispute with his ex-wife, Laura, who had accused him of owing more than $117,000.
The Walshes did not disclose the terms of the settlement, but issued this statement:
We both regret this public misunderstanding and the effect it has had on our children. Like many families, we have had our share of issues and made our share of mistakes over the years. Having resolved these issues together and cleared up these mistakes in private, we now agree that Joe is not and was not a ‘deadbeat dad’ and does not owe child support.
We both have been loving and devoted parents to our children, ages 24, 21, and 17, and are happy to avoid a public legal fight hurtful to our entire family and look forward to caring for our children in private.
The dispute between the couple, who was married from 1987 to 2004, became so ugly that Walsh accused his ex-wife of “blatantly and knowingly submitting false information” in a court filing in “an attempt to tarnish the Congressman’s reputation.”
Walsh made the statement in a letter sent on his Congressional letterhead.
It would nice to say that the settlement takes an embarrassing issue off the table for Walsh’s race against Democrat Tammy Duckworth. But he’s such an outspoken congressman that the child support controversy received national attention. Despite what Laura Walsh says, “Deadbeat Dad” is still part of Joe’s brand.
UPDATE: Duckworth is trying to ensure it remains part of his brand. Her statement on the settlement conspicuously uses the word "deadbeat":
Joe Walsh has repeatedly failed to meet his responsibilities. During the 1990s, he did not pay his taxes on time on several occasions and had tax liens filed against him. In 2000, Walsh was sued for not paying for his new furnace. In 2009, the bank foreclosed on his property. Walsh’s campaign manager from 2010 sued him for not getting paid. Walsh admitted in the Daily Herald he did not pay child support from March, 2008 to December, 2010. Regardless of whether or not he is having his taxpayer-funded salary garnished to finally pay his child support in an election year settlement, Joe Walsh's claim that he is not a deadbeat just does not square with the fact that he repeatedly does not pay his taxes or his bills on time," said Kaitlin Fahey, Campaign Manager, Duckworth for Congress.