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The Center for Public Integrity spent 2016 like we’ve spent every year since 1989: revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of public trust by powerful public and private institutions.

Here are some of our best investigations involving state politics and the special interest groups trying to influence lawmakers in all 50 of the country’s statehouses.

The Center for Public Integrity teamed up with The Associated Press for this series examining the politics behind the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic.

It’s an epidemic that has cost 165,000 Americans their lives and surrounds the prescription opiod manufacturers with controversy.

Drug companies have developed a 50-state strategy to combat laws that would stem the tide of prescription painkillers, complete with lobbying and campaign contributions adding up to more than $880 million nationwide from 2006 through 2016.

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Insurance commissioner doesn’t sound like the most glamorous job in state government, but decisions made by these regulators can affect some of the country’s largest companies. The insurance industry does its best to keep commissioners close through dinners and campaign contributions.

And it doesn’t end there. As the Center’s investigation revealed, half of the 109 insurance commissioners who have left their posts in the last decade have gone on to work for the insurance industry. Just two moved into consumer advocacy.

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South Dakota may have more cattle than people, but it attracted the attention of some major political groups this past election season. A ballot measure to bring ethics reform to state politics became a proxy battle between two national groups operating out of Virginia and Massachusetts.

The measure passed, along with several other liberal initiatives appearing on ballots across the country.

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