Fact-checking the May 31 news shows

Columnist George Will drew attention to the money former House Speaker Dennis Hastert made from lobbying.
Columnist George Will drew attention to the money former House Speaker Dennis Hastert made from lobbying.

The pundits reacted on Sunday to the indictment of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who allegedly paid an unnamed man about $1.7 million since 2010. According to press reports, the goal was to hide a sexual encounter that took place decades ago when Hastert was a high school wrestling coach. Federal officials charged Hastert with scheming to skirt banking laws and lying to FBI agents about his cash withdrawals.

The missing details have spurred a lot of speculation. But on Fox News Sunday, conservative pundit George Will focused on Hastert’s post-congressional career as a lobbyist that allowed him to cover big payments.

"Lobbyists are important. That's why we spend more money on lobbying than we do on campaigns," Will said on May 31, 2015. "They become important precisely because they know how complicated the government is, where the levers and pulleys and widgets are, to make it work. And he made the most of that value."

We were intrigued with Will’s comparison of lobbying and campaigns and decided to look into the numbers. We found evidence that Will was right, and experts said he's probably much more right than we are able to document. For all the numbers, read our fact-check