Friday, November 4, 2011

Is Tea Partier Joe Walsh a "deadbeat dad"?

  Huffington Post carried a story whose implication was that "deadbeat dad" U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (not the totally awesome guitarist who was the only cool thing about the Eagles) hypocritically accepted a pro-family award from the Family Research Council. The story can be read here.

  That Walsh is a child support owing deadbeat has been the spin in a lot of the left leaning media for a little while, but a little bit of further reading shows that it's not that clear. I'm no fan of Mr. Walsh and I definitely think the FRC is full of it and spends most of its time assaulting the liberties of others rather than "protecting the family". But since this is a blog that has no use for spin and smears, even against those with whom it disagrees, it decided to delve into this.

  This story from has this section which definitely paints a less black and white picture:

According to Joe Walsh, $2,134 a month is being withheld from his government paychecks to support one teenager.  Two other children are now 20 and 24 years of age.  The three children are from Walsh’s 17 year marriage which ended in 2004. 

The Representative also says that his wife’s allegations have given him a reputation as one of those ‘deadbeat’ dads – a term used to describe men who do not pay child support for their children.  He argues with that label by saying that he has been involved with his children.  In fact, he says that his youngest child lived with him for a time in 2009 and 2010 while his wife was off in Indianapolis making a six-figure salary by being employed by Eli Lilly & Company.  During that time, the Representative claims he only made $39,000 in 2009 and $61,000 in 2010. 

  I don't know the whole situation so I won't make a judgment on the topic.  But based on the above information definitely raises some questions about the spin of the first article...but then again this section from a Huffington Post story (here) seems to call some of the previous article's section into question:

A withholding order currently deducts $2,134 each month from Walsh's income as a member of Congress -- a $174,000 annual salary -- which goes toward his back child support obligations.
Largely thanks to the child support issue, Walsh was named as one of Congress's thirteen "most corrupt" members in a Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington (CREW) report in September. In her December filing, his ex-wife claimed that Walsh said he could not afford to make the payments for their three children while, at the same time, he loaned his own campaign $35,000 and took vacations abroad.

  The time frames and salary figures from these two opposing sections muddy the waters in this whole affair quite a bit. The echo chambers on either the right or left send out messages that fit into the reinforce the preconceived notions of their base. I think digging into all sides of an issue is the responsibility of anyone who has a love for the truth, takes an interest in our nation's politics, and isn't a partisan hack or dirtbag. And if what comes up isn't a clear answer, well, there's no sin in saying "I don't know".  So, I don't know whether Joe Walsh is a deadbeat dad.

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