BOXFORD — Bill Hudak, the lightning-rod Boxford politician who mounted an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2010, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection yesterday.
A fiscal conservative, Hudak spent the bulk of his election rhetoric on fiscal responsibility, railing against out-of-control spending in Washington. He has a national debt ticker on his campaign website.
In an interview yesterday, Hudak continued down that path, blaming his personal financial problems on federal fiscal policy.
"I think it was the prolonged Obama depression more than anything — nobody is immune from four years of devastating economic policy," Hudak said yesterday. "Had I run for U.S. Congress another time and under another administration, this would have never happened."
According to bankruptcy documents filed yesterday, Hudak's average monthly income is about $13,900, while his monthly expenses are just under $20,000.
His total assets, including property, are valued at just over $1 million, while his net liabilities are about $900,000, according to filings.
Hudak has credit card debts of about $187,450, various other loans or lines of credit totaling about $75,000, a student loan of $100,000, and a more-than-$500,000 loan on his house in Boxford. Since he began running for Congress, Hudak has sold a house in Maine for $534,500, sold off stock worth about $731,500, and sold a boat and personal watercraft for $6,000.
"When the stock market dropped, we had to liquidate and incurred a tax that is completely outrageous," said Hudak, who estimated he paid $100,000 in taxes on the money he made selling his stocks.
Hudak said the cost of the campaign played a role in the fiscal hardship but placed the majority of blame at the feet of President Barack Obama.
"This would never have occurred if the administration and government allowed people to exercise the financial freedom they need," he said. "This government intrusion on the private lives of citizens is imperiling this country, and I am not immune from that. Nobody is immune."
During the 2010 campaign, Hudak raised about $812,000 — including the $234,973 he loaned himself — and had spent almost all of it by the end of the election, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. By the end of the election, Hudak's campaign was about $27,000 in debt, according to the filings.
He had intended to run for Congress again this year and had raised about $53,000, including a $7,500 candidate loan, before dropping out of the race in January. The Hudak campaign was $10,000 in debt at the end of March.
Despite starting the 2012 campaign with gusto, Hudak surprised his supporters by dropping out in January to pursue a new business opportunity selling the Prime system from Qivana, a network marketing firm based in Utah that sells natural wellness products. Hudak has made $7,446 from the business so far in 2012, according to bankruptcy records. He has made about $43,500 from his law practice this year.
"Running for Congress is an extremely costly venture, as you all know," Hudak posted on his campaign website announcing his departure from the race. "A business opportunity has presented itself to me, which in addition to my active law practice will involve substantial amounts of my time and effort for the balance of the year. This will allow me to recoup what my family has invested in this race so far, and then some — allowing me to return stronger than ever in 2014."
Hudak downplayed the bankruptcy yesterday, saying it is a "good thing" that will allow him to "bounce back." He was not amused by the apparent irony of a fiscal conservative filing for bankruptcy.
"People can twist this any way they want, saying that I was running as a fiscal conservative but I'm not really fiscally conservative, (but) that is the farthest from the truth," he said. "There is a difference between fiscal restraint with the government when they are dealing with other people's money (and this situation). No one in my entire life has given me a thing that I haven't worked to get on my own."
Despite the setback, Hudak did not rule out running for office again in the future. He never wanted to be a "career politician," he said, but felt obliged to give voice to the causes he believes in. His decision to continue with politics depends on the direction of the country moving forward.
"It will be an absolute economic disaster if Barack Obama is elected again," he said. "That will determine the vigor with which I will resume."