Midnight Regulations is the term used to describe the laws that are passed during the lame duck period of a departing president when the new incoming president is from a different political party. The US Congress grants some authority to the Executive branch to create laws that dictate the operations of the executive branch. What makes these laws so nefarious or at least suspect is that they have a 60 day waiting period before they officially become law. So if you pass a law in late November, it won't become law until late January ... the next president's administration. The new president can repeal these laws but it does take time and resources. A new president generally have a lot of other things on his plate and so they go ignored.
The term was created after President Jimmy Carter produced 10,000 pages of regulations in this period. This was the record until Bill Clinton blew it away producing over 40,000 pages. Some called him a procrastinator while others claimed that earlier in his administration he and his staff were too busy defending their personal lives. They never had time to do what they wanted to until later. I should also point out that much of Clinton's Midnight Regulations were directly in opposition to the Bush 43rd's campaign platform.
Speaking of Bush 43, he seems to be having a go at it. Here is scary stuff to warm your heart during the new year. Much of his midnight regulations seem to have these 3 letters in the title: EPA. With the environmental protection agency being a part of executive branch, he has passed some stuff in the past 3 months that might just turn your stomach: power plants are exempted from pollution controls, the easement of restrictions of coal fired plants near national parks, allowing of hazardous waste to be used as fuel, fisheries will no longer be subject to scientific review but will regulate themselves and rocket fuel being allowed in drinking water. If you are not significantly scared or pissed off yet, here is another link that will you how financial planners won't have to tell you of any conflicts of interest, some changes in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Medicaid and Family Leave and about how tired trucks can drive even longer hours than they used to. Sorry for the bummer, but the Bush administration doesn't exactly make my heart go-pitter-patter ... well, it does ... but not in a good way.