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With a divided Congress and polarizing presidential politics, the pundits don’t predict much by way of an aggressive Washington regulatory agenda. While the newly flipped House is predicted to begin shuttling subpoenas to the White House, and Democrats focus on teeing-up reform in areas such as healthcare and immigration at the national level, real regulatory power—which affects corporate decision making now—has in many cases shifted to state legislatures and state attorneys general.

State AG offices are some of the most nimble government offices in the country, wield wide ranging civil and criminal authority, and potentially have the greatest regulatory impact on corporate behavior. Distinct from functional state industry regulators who usually work under direction of a governor, most AGs are able to pick their own priorities and the tools they employ to advance their initiatives. Not only do they routinely initiate investigations and file lawsuits against companies, they are often influential voices in state legislatures.

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