Ex-U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) filed a request with the Cook County Court to terminate his remaining child support payments, which were supposed to continue through May, because he’s out of work. The filing states that he doesn’t have sufficient income or assets to make his payments now.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the motion, which was filed on Feb. 1, states,
“Joe’s employment has been terminated through no voluntary act of his own and he is without sufficient income or assets with which to continue to pay his support obligation. Due to substantial change of circumstances, Joe requests that his child support obligation be terminated based on his present income and circumstances.”
He was originally paying $2,134 a month, and missed his January payment.
Walsh, a Tea Party member and former representative of Illinois’ hotly contested 8th district, spent a large chunk of his re-election campaign defending himself against accusations that he was a deadbeat dad, however, he settled with his ex-wife after a judge dismissed a case against him claiming he owed more than $117,000 in back child support.
Also during the 2012 election cycle, Walsh said to an audience in Addison, Ill.:
“Think about this, a 31, 32-year-old-law student who has been a student for life, gets up there in front of a national audience and tells the American people, ‘I want America to pay for my contraceptives.’ You’re kidding me. Go get a job. Go get a job, Sandra Fluke.”
He continued with:
“We are raising the Sandra Flukes of the world. We’re raising Americans who don’t know how to take care of themselves, who feel entitled. This a woman who feels entitled that we all should pay for her contraceptives. This is what we’re teaching Americans? That was embarrassing. That was embarrassing.”
Besides his comments about Sandra Fluke, he also encouraged businesses to threaten their employees over the consequences of Obama winning re-election. Specifically, he said:
“Spread the word! If you run, own or manage a company, tell your employees! What was the CEO this week that said, if Obama is reelected, I may have to let all of you go next year? If Obama’s reelected, if the Democrats take Congress, I may not be able to cover your health insurance next year. If there’s ever a year where people who run, manage, or own their companies are going to energize their employees, it better be this year. We’re up against it.”
Based on comments like these, one would think he would have at least come up with a back-up plan for income in the event he lost his re-election bid.
Indeed, Walsh likely does not have much in the way of assets or money. In 2010, his estimated net worth was a paltry $24,502, with most of his assets being his 401k, an IRA and brokerage. He had a mere $8,501 in other investments such as real estate. One year before, he was over $300,000 in the hole.
He also doesn’t get retirement. Contrary to popular belief, those who serve in Congress aren’t eligible for any retirement benefits at all after only one day or one year of service. Each member of Congress is automatically enrolled in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), and only becomes eligible for retirement benefits after five years of service. FERS is composed of a pension that is a percentage of an employee’s highest three years of pay, the Thrift Savings Plan (which is akin to a 401(k)), and Social Security. Because he only served two years, he is not eligible to draw these benefits, and will only be eligible for Social Security when he reaches the SS retirement age.
So it would seem that his claims about being unable to pay his child support, due to lack of income and assets, are based in truth, however absurd that may seem for someone who earned approximately $350,000 in salary in just two years, and knew he was going to have obligations to meet whether he won re-election or not.