The Midnight Regulation Phenomenon

Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy addresses the phenomenon of "midnight regulation." She presents data that demonstrates a clear growth in regulation at the end of past presidential


At the end of a presidential administration there is a flurry of regulatory activity as political appointee and career agency staff attempt to create new policies that will provide a legacy beyond the administration. In his last days in office, President Bill Clinton managed to promul­gate an unprecedented number of "midnight regulations," such as lead and diesel sulfur reduction rules; an arsenic in drinking water standard; a significant ergonomics rule; and energy-efficiency standards for air conditioning, heat pumps, and washing machines. What is the likelihood that the administration of George W. Bush will attempt to leave behind a regulatory legacy?