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Ex-Rep. Joe Walsh says he will sue Chicago Sun-Times

Former congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) says he will sue the Chicago Sun-Times for publishing a story about his effort to reduce his child support payments.

Walsh's child support payments have been in the news before and led to charges during his 2012 reelection campaign that he was a "deadbeat dad."

The Sun-Times reported in a story posted online Monday that Walsh sought to stop making child-support payments after losing his bid for reelection, which has left him without a job. An attorney for his ex-wife told the paper that the former congressman continues to be behind on his payments.

The story on the Sun-Times Web site now says that Walsh has sought to reduce his payments to 20 percent of his current salary, which is currently zero. But Walsh says that since his salary could change as he seeks employment, his request does not mean he's trying to stop making payments altogether.

In a statement released late Monday, Walsh said he will sue the Sun-Times. He noted that only one of his three children hasn't been emancipated (i.e. reached an age at which child support is no longer required), and that support payments for his youngest child will soon cease as well.

"Two weeks ago, I did what every other father who is paying child support is supposed to do — by law — when their employment situation changes: I modified my support agreement," Walsh said in a statement. "With my congressional term ending on Jan. 3, and with my ex-wife having been paid in full through my term in Congress, by law, I filed a modification of my support payments for my remaining un-emancipated child for these next four months. This modification called for me to pay my ex-wife 20 percent of my net income during these four months, which is my responsibility by law."

Walsh continued: "This article by the Sun-Times is a deliberate attempt to defame me, and I will sue them immediately. My adult children have been my life. I pledged to them two years ago that I would fight these charges privately to keep them out of the news, but with the Chicago Sun-Times fabricating a story, I am, at long last, going to fight back."

Walsh recently launched a super PAC and has suggested he might challenge Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) in 2014.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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