A Chicago judge has ordered the tea party congressman branded a "deadbeat dad" by his critics to explain why he has not paid more than $100,00 in child support to his ex-wife over the past five years.


Cook County Circuit Judge Raul Vega on Wednesday issued a “rule to show cause” against Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), meaning the congressman has to argue why he should not be held in contempt for falling so far behind in child support.

Rep. Walsh and Laura Walsh divorced in 2002.

Lawyers for the Illinois Republican previously asked his ex-wife to provide extensive documentation, including records of her employment, salary, bank statements, tax returns and expense reports. After she failed to provide the documents, Walsh sought to have her sanctioned by the court.

Laura Walsh’s attorney called that request "harassment."

While Rep. Walsh's lawyer denied that he owes anything near that amount thanks to a stint of unemployment before his surprising election to Congress, Laura Walsh's lawsuit pointed to a $35,000 loan he personally gave to his campaign, claiming that if he had enough for that, he had enough to help support their 9-year-old child.

Members of Congress earn $174,000-a-year, placing them in the top 5 percent of salaried U.S. workers. Combined with their full health benefits, members of the House are compensated at a rate about 3.5 times higher than the average American.