Fiscally Irresponsible

(CNN) – They’re hard-charging, compromise-damning members of Congress, and they’ve changed the debate in Washington over the size and spending of the government.

In recent days, Republican hard-liners in the debt ceiling talks have been vociferous in their rhetoric.


Original DVD cover

(Top left corner:  Kevin Yoder;  Center:  Joe Walsh;  Lower Left:  Mike Lee;  Lower Right:  Tim Griffin)

At a tea party rally, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said his faction needs to push forward a balanced budget amendment and other measures “… in order to save our country from a Congress that for decades has been burying our children and our grandchildren, both born and unborn, under a mountain of debt.”

But according to recently released disclosure forms, Lee and others in his caucus have some significant personal debt of their own.

The documents — annual personal financial disclosure forms that were released in June — show that Lee had amassed at least $15,000 in credit card debt and had a $50,000 line of credit at a Utah bank as of late last year.

He’s not alone. Republican Rep. Tim Griffin of Arkansas had at least $15,000 of debt accumulated on an American Express card, according to the forms. Griffin, who won his seat with tea party support, has recently said Washington has “a spending addiction.”

Rep. Kevin Yoder, a freshman Republican from Kansas, said in a recent press release, “Washington needs to cut up the credit cards.” But Yoder’s own form shows he amassed at least $15,000 in what’s called a “revolving charge account” with Citigroup.


Ryan Alexander, president of the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense, says, “It raises that question: How are you managing your personal debt? You’re telling us how to manage our debt as a country, you’re making ultimatums, and we don’t know what you’re doing with your personal debt. And they’re holding credit card debt. Not every American does that. That’s a choice that you made, to put that kind of debt on your own personal finances.”


Then there’s the case of freshman Rep. Joe Walsh, Republican from Illinois. Walsh is another tea party favorite who has pushed for a tougher line with Democrats in negotiations.

This week Walsh told CNN, “Thank God congressmen like me were here. Imagine – step back and imagine – if Republicans hadn’t taken over Congress, this city would have raised the debt limit who knows how much.”

But Walsh’s ex-wife Laura Walsh says he needs to pay up on a big debt: $117,437 in child support. That figure is part of a lawsuit against Walsh she filed.


The attorney for Laura Walsh told CNN that Walsh has not paid any child support since 2008.

In an interview with CNN, Walsh admitted that he had struggled financially and had lost a home. “Look, I’m the most openly vetted candidate in the world. I have had financial troubles and I have talked about them throughout the campaign,” he said, “This is where the real America is.”

Real America?  From the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.

“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 directly into the camera in his viral video lecturing Obama on the need to get the nation’s finances in order.

Walsh starts the video by saying, “President Obama, quit lying. Have you no shame, sir? In three short years, you’ve bankrupted this country.”

In court documents, after his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, asked a judge to suspend his driver’s license until he paid his child support, Joe Walsh asks his ex-wife’s lawyer: “Have you no decency?”


An intense, silver-haired firebrand, Walsh, 49, has taken cable TV by storm in recent weeks, becoming the unofficial spokesman for the “No compromise” faction of the Republican majority in the U.S. House — refusing to consider any debt crisis solution that includes raising taxes on the wealthy.

Walsh admits he is not wealthy. Some of his financial problems — including losing his Evanston condo to foreclosure — were documented before his out-of-nowhere victory last fall in the 8th Congressional District in Chicago’s north and northwest suburbs.

But court documents examined this week by the Chicago Sun-Times during research for a profile on the increasingly visible congressman showed his financial issues also included a nine-year child support battle with his ex-wife.

Before getting elected, he had told Laura Walsh that because he was out of work or between jobs, he could not make child support payments. So she was surprised to read in his congressional campaign disclosures that he was earning enough money to loan his campaign $35,000.


Walsh lives with his new wife and children in McHenry. He has not paid any of the $117,437 yet, Laura Walsh’s attorney, Jack Coladarci, said Wednesday.


In 2004, Laura Walsh complained in a motion that despite her ex-husband’s claims of poverty, he took a vacation to Mexico with his girlfriend and another to Italy. The following year, he complained in a court filing that his ex-wife mailed him a motion while she knew he was in Nicaragua doing charitable work with one of their children.

In her December 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.”

After Joe Walsh missed payments, Cook County Judge Grace Dickler wrote in a 2005 order, “If Joe Walsh fails to tender [his 50 percent share of children’s expenses] to Laura within 7 days, ONE TIME, the court shall enter an automatic withdrawal . . . from Joe Walsh’s employer.”


As a sometimes-employed financial consultant/venture capitalist/Republican activist, Joe Walsh’s resume is difficult to characterize. His congressional disclosure statement says he earned $14,500 in 2009 from Advantage Futures and Michigan Avenue Ventures and $8,000 in self-employment.

In 2010, he was paid $21,000 by the United Republican Fund of Illinois. He also has worked as a teacher and an administrator of education trust funds. He now is paid $175,000 a year as a congressman.


In addition to the foreclosure on his condominium, Walsh was haunted during his campaign by disclosures of liens on his property from unpaid bills and staffers abandoning his campaign, saying he wasn’t paying them.

Keith Liscio, who said Walsh hired him to be campaign manager — Walsh disputes that — has sued Walsh for $20,000 in salary he said Walsh owes him. Both sides are trying to settle that case.

Staffers learned during the campaign that Walsh was driving on a suspended license. His license was suspended twice in 2008 for his failure to appear in court, and he was cited in 2009 for driving on a suspended license, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.

Walsh’s energetic Tea Party politics are making him the darling of cable TV. He addressed a Tea Party rally Wednesday at the Capitol and appeared Wednesday night on CNN saying he and other “troublesome conservatives” in the House won’t vote for anything less than “a profound deal that will change this town so we never get to this point again.”


Illinois Democrats earlier this year, while redrawing congressional boundaries, mapped Walsh out of his district. Walsh, who already has raised $600,000 for a campaign, has not said which district he’ll run in.


Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Democrats, humor, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

39 responses to “Fiscally Irresponsible

  1. Whoa. Walsh is a disgusting mess. And it just figures about the others.

    • did you see lawrence o’donnell’s rant about walsh? it was awesome. lemme see if i can find it. here it is. i don’t know how to embed those videos here.

      • Lawrence O’Donnell eviscerated the guy. Just the financial information you have posted looks like he’s intentionally under-employed to dodge paying. A real prince. 🙄

        • i would love to send that larry o’d rant to my ex and every other man (or woman) who fights to not pay child support. they all have excuses, and then they wonder why their kids don’t love them and have no respect for them.

  2. maggiejean

    Wow. Joe Walsh is a piece of work. So typical of republicans, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Before he involves his sorry butt into other people’s lives he needs to get his own life in order or go to jail for non-support.

    • it’s not just the finances. how can you expect this asswipe to care about other people’s kids when he doesn’t seem to give a shit about his own?

  3. I’m going to have to dig through the news archives to see if this was brought up during last year’s general election. If it didn’t, I don’t know whether to be proud of the Democrat for campaigning cleanly, or ashamed because the campaign was wimpy or inept.

    BTW, the financial rot extends down to the grass roots. Mother Jones had dug up some good dirt on the founders of the Tea Party Patriots, the analog to the Coffee Party in the Tea Party movement:

    “There are other reasons to question the wisdom of Republicans taking economic advice from national leaders of the Tea Party Patriots and other top tea partiers in the news this week. Consider the fact that before riding the tea party movement to national fame, Meckler was a high-ranking distributor for Herbalife, a company considered by many consumer groups and regulatory agencies to be a pyramid scheme. After that, he got into “affiliate marketing,” an industry responsible for all of those “tiny belly” ads haunting the Internet that the FTC says are a scam. His colleague, Jenny Beth Martin, also doesn’t have a great track financial record. In 2007, she and husband lost their house and ended up owing the IRS more than $500,000 in back taxes.”

    As I wrote, rotten down to the grass roots.

    • i remember reading that the foreclosure on his condo was brought up during the general election, but not the child support. of course, he used the foreclosure to whine about his victimhood and to make believe he was just like the people who were voting. i don’t know of it was the dem or a primary challenger who brought up the foreclosure. the child support wasn’t brought up, but i don’t think it was due to anyone campaigning cleanly (although i don’t see anything wrong with bringing it up, because it shows a lack of respect for the law and a lack of character) or because it wasn’t brought to light until recently.

      • My guess is because they didn’t know about it. After all, it is Illinois, which is known for tough Democrats (Rahm Emmanuel) and dirty politics (Blago).

        • that would be my guess, too, but i don’t think it’s dirty politics to point out that someone has no regard for the law or his own children.

    • I expanded on this comment on my blog.

      Fiction vs. Fact for the Tea Party Patriots

      After reading through the back story, these people are even worse than I thought. The Treasurer is someone I wouldn’t want anywhere near my organization’s money!

      • that was an interesting read. i think the rethugs know full well that the teabagger numbers are highly exaggerated, but the lies come in handy, so they just ignore the truth and keep telling us what the vast majority of people think (as if they had any clue). i hope the members get ripped off for every penny. maybe that’s when they’ll realize that they’ve been used all this time.

  4. I can’t understand why the X doesn”t have his pay attached. It happened to the bum my little sister married (he owed $40,000) and the authorities started docking her pay too! And to disgrace a name of one of the finest musicians out there too. Holy Nigel! That volume knob goes to eleven. All mine top out at 10, dammit.

    • i believe she did try to garnish his wages. he always cried poverty. why did they dock your sister’s pay if her ex was the one who owed money? i don’t understand people who have kids and then don’t think they should be responsible for them. i had to take my ex to court so that he’d put my son back on his health insurance plan. the kicker is that it didn’t cost him a penny, because he had a family plan for himself, his new wife, and his other kids.

      • Because she was stupid enough to file a joint return with jackass for income taxes. They will always get you. My stepmommys dippy friend won ten grand on a scratch off and excitedly went to the payout center in Fort Worth only to find that the student loan she had no intention of ever paying off….well, they almost had to call the cops when she found out she wasn’t getting a dime of it! I felt no simpathy at all.

        • oh no! i hope she got her money back. poor and middle class people can’t even win something without someone yanking it away from you. rich people have accountants on call, and they’ll get someone out immediately to cash in your winnings for you.

          • But alas, like the payout window at Vegas, you have 20% with-holding for the IRS. It’s like those folks who win big on game shows and can’t pay the federal tax on the big proze (it counts as income). Even worse, the woman who won a million dollar house on one of those lottery deals and found out the local tax enity wanted six figures up front for property tax. She couldn’t keep it. And on those big payouts, a S/S # will be required.

            • many moons ago, i won a cruise from a radio station. at the end of the year, i got a w-4 form and had to claim the trip as income. the price was so unbelievably inflated so that the cruiseline could take a big deduction, and i was stuck paying the tax on it.

  5. He’s a weaselly scum bag. He of all people has no business being in politics.

  6. About the debt ceiling deal, it hurts too much to cry, so I’m going to laugh.

    Debt Ceiling Cat is watching you negotiate.

    LOLCat at the link.

  7. One of the few good uses of redistricting I’ve seen. I wasn’t in the area for the election, but I’ll bet beans to dollars Walsh portrayed himself as the victim of a conniving, money-grubbing ex-wife. That kinda stuff plays well in the snooty collar counties like McHenry.

    • of course he’s a victim! that’s on the first page of the rethuglican/teabagging handbook. whenever something bad happens, they are the victims. it doesn’t matter what it is. dozens of children get killed in norway? glenn blechhh is the real victim.

      • johncerickson

        I heard something in passing that Glenn Beck questioned the Norwegian camp, run by the one political party, as sounding “like something the Nazis did”. That got shut up REAL quick – I haven’t heard anything more about it. Considering that the Norwegians helped keep Hitler from getting the A-bomb, Beck’s statement really wound me!

        • it was worse than that. he compared the kids who went to that camp and who got shot and killed to the hitler youth. after people criticized him for it, he insisted that saying that those kids are like the hitler youth was not him comparing them to the hitler youth. of course, he played the victim, because everyone was out to smear him (yeah, he’s the victim, not the innocent people who were slaughtered). then he added something like, if he’s not allowed to compare those kids to the hitler youth, the next step is concentration camps.

  8. jeb

    I thought there would be another great parody here to the tune of “Life’s been good to me so long,” but honestly, I hate this MFing hypocrite scumbag with such a white blinding passion that I can’t even make fun of him. The idea of jailing deadbeat dads is that it’s not the way to go because then they definitely cannot pay but he’s reached the point where he’s shown that he’s the verminous scum that won’t pay no matter what so instead of being in the U.S. House of Representatives, his ass belongs in stir. Throw away the key.

    I watched the O’Donnell video and he’s exactly right. I was living hand to mouth for several years after the separation because of family debt and I took on her business debt too. I did this so that she had money for the kids. I then paid everything I was required and more while I lived on Ramen Noodles. I did it because, as Larry points out, it’s the right thing to do. I could never even think of not taking care of my children and then I see a piece of feces like this lecturing the President. Pontificating about the children.

    The tables are turned, have you no shame sir. And the answer is a resounding no.

  9. I heart Cook County Judge Grace Dickler!

    Enough with the BS, he;s making $175,000 a year in congress….. the average US family wage is $50K.
    That means he can easily give up $150K for the back pay of the kids care.

    Bring back Judge Dickler & garnish his wages & add fines & late fees.

    What a hypocrite!

    My fav story about a deadbeat Dad is a guy who won the lottery big time.
    The State determined his child support was seriously in arrears & they took it all for the kids!
    The guy did not get one penny of his winnings!

    With douche bags like Walsh, unless a court orders the money to be taken from him, he will be taking international trips & livin’ high on the hog.
    What’s with the Feds?
    They should do legal background checks on members of congress & make sure they are not in arrears.