Local

Walsh responds to reports of license suspension

WOODSTOCK – U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh on Wednesday said that a newspaper's look this week into his private affairs uncovered stories that he already had addressed.

Walsh, R-McHenry, said that a Chicago Tribune report about driving violations was a matter of media outlets that ignored his 2010 House race getting up to speed. He said those who followed his campaign, or who read other newspaper accounts of it, already were aware of the issues.

Among the most recent news was that Walsh owed more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife, that he settled a lawsuit filed by former campaign manager Keith Liscio, and that his driver's license was suspended this year for letting his insurance coverage lapse.

"The child support issue I'm spending time fighting to take care of, but if [media outlets] paid enough attention during my campaign, most of this was covered," Walsh said after an event with U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo in Woodstock. "Most of this is nothing new."

The insurance report, though, was new. Drivers who have been cited for certain violations involving insurance or safety issues are required to provide proof of insurance for a certain amount of time. The insurance company is required to report to the Secretary of State's Office if that SR-22 insurance lapses.

Walsh's license was suspended this year from April 16 until July 19 because his insurance lapsed, Secretary of State spokeswoman Beth Kaufman said.

Walsh's staff said the issue occurred when Walsh's wife, Helene, forgot to send in a check to pay for the policy, thinking it was set up on an automatic payment. They said it was a non-issue because Walsh did not do any driving in Washington or back home during that time.

"I am a big target, and I made that myself," Walsh said of the recent reports. "I've taken a very outspoken approach to what the Obama administration and Democrats are doing. And because I've done so, people are starting to fire at me. That's part of the business."

Walsh has said he was not concerned about his re-election prospects, but about the work he was doing in Washington. He said that seeing attention shift to his personal life rather than his Washington work was par for the political course.

"I'm a student of this process enough to know that I can't think this is going to end," he said. "But I went through this same thing in the campaign, and in the end, enough people were [upset] at this mess we're in and felt at the end of the day I could do something about it.

"But this is not going to stop me from talking or firing at what I think is wrong."

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