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Illinois Rep., behind on child support, praised as family advocate

Congressman Joe Walsh is again a source of controversy. Walsh is the freshman U.S. Representative from Illinois' 8th District who made headlines over the summer for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife. The 8th District includes parts of Lake, McHenry and Cook counties.

Rep. Walsh has reportedly continued to refuse to make the support payments. He has also, it seems, failed to appear in court on the matter, earning himself a sharp rebuke from the judge. Walsh deserves no special treatment, the judge said, nor is Walsh different from anyone else. In July, Walsh owed a total of about $117,000.

At the same time, a noted conservative social advocacy organization has honored Walsh as a "True Blue" member of Congress. The Family Research Council gave him a 100 percent rating for his "unwavering support of the family."

Critics find it ironic that the organization would praise Rep. Walsh's legislative record as unfailingly supportive of "faith, family and freedom." He earned the 100 percent by voting to repeal President Obama's health care bill, to defund Planned Parenthood and to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, among other conservative causes.

Critics also point out that the activities of the Family Research Council prompted the Southern Poverty Law Center to designate the nonprofit a hate group. The Council takes a strongly anti-gay stance on most social issues.

News sources say the Council is also quite influential among conservative lawmakers, sponsoring events that attract high-level members of the House and Senate. It could be detrimental to Walsh's political career, then, to receive the True Blue award with anything but open arms.

Chances are, though, that critics will not let the Congressman rest as long as the child support issue is not resolved.

Source: ThinkProgress.org, "Deadbeat Rep. Joe Walsh, Who Owes $100k In Child Support, Receives 'Pro-Family' Award From Family Research Council," Lee Fang, Nov. 4, 2011

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