U.S. Code, Title 15, Commerce and Trade

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Author: "U.S. Congress, Office of the Law Revision Counsel"

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§ 79r. Investigations, Injunctions, and Enforcement of Law

(a) Investigations to determine violations, aid in enforcement and as basis for recommendations

     The Commission, in its discretion, may investigate any facts, conditions, practices, or matters which it may deem necessary or appropriate to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of this chapter or any rule or regulation thereunder, or to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, in the prescribing of rules and regulations thereunder, or in obtaining information to serve as a basis for recommending further legislation concerning the matters to which this chapter relates. The Commission may require or permit any person to file with it a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise as it shall determine, as to any or all facts and circumstances concerning a matter which may be the subject of investigation. The Commission, in its discretion, may publish, or make available to State commissions, information concerning any such subject.

(b) Investigation of business, financial condition, etc., of companies

     The Commission upon its own motion or at the request of a State commission may investigate, or obtain any information regarding the business, financial condition, or practices of any registered holding company or subsidiary company thereof or facts, conditions, practices, or matters affecting the relations between any such company and any other company or companies in the same holding-company system.

(c) Administering oaths; subpenas; examining witnesses

     For the purpose of any investigation or any other proceeding under this chapter, any member of the Commission, or any officer thereof designated by it, is empowered to administer oaths and affirmations, subpena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements, or other records which the Commission deems relevant or material to the inquiry. Such attendance of witnesses and the production of any such records may be required from any place in any State or in any Territory or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States at any designated place of hearing.

(d) Court aid to compel giving testimony; penalty for refusal to testify

     In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpena issued to, any person, the Commission may invoke the aid of any court of the United States within the jurisdiction of which such investigation or proceeding is carried on, or where such person resides or carries on business, in requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements, and other records. And such court may issue an order requiring such person to appear before the Commission or member or officer designated by the Commission, there to produce records, if so ordered, or to give testimony touching the matter under investigation or in question; and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by such court as a contempt thereof. All process in any such case may be served in the judicial district whereof such person is an inhabitant or wherever he may be found. Any person who, without just cause, shall fail or refuse to attend and testify or to answer any lawful inquiry or to produce books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements, or other records, if in his or its power so to do, in obedience to the subpena of the Commission, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.

(e) Injunctions to restrain violations; prosecutions

     Whenever it shall appear to the Commission that any person is engaged or about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of the provisions of this chapter, or of any rule, regulation, or order thereunder, it may in its discretion bring an action in the proper district court of the United States or the United States courts of any Territory or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to enjoin such acts or practices and to enforce compliance with this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order thereunder, and upon a proper showing a permanent or temporary injunction or decree or restraining order shall be granted without bond. The Commission may transmit such evidence as may be available concerning such acts or practices to the Attorney General, who, in his discretion, may institute the appropriate criminal proceedings under this chapter.

(f) Mandamus to compel compliance with law

     Upon application of the Commission, the district courts of the United States and the United States courts of any Territory or other place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus commanding any person to comply with the provisions of this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order of the Commission thereunder.

(Aug. 26, 1935, ch. 687, title I, § 18, 49 Stat. 831; June 25, 1936, ch. 804, 49 Stat. 1921; June 25, 1948, ch. 646, § 32(b), 62 Stat. 991; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, § 127, 63 Stat. 107; Pub. L. 91–452, title II, § 214, Oct. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 929; Pub. L. 100–181, title IV, § 402, Dec. 4, 1987, 101 Stat. 1259.)

Codification

     As originally enacted subsecs. (e) and (f) contained references to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. Act June 25, 1936, substituted "the district court of the United States for the District of Columbia" for "the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia". Pub. L. 100–181 struck out reference to the district court of the United States for the District of Columbia. Previously, act June 25, 1948, as amended by act May 24, 1949, had substituted "United States District Court for the District of Columbia" for "district court of the United States for the District of Columbia", but such words had been editorially eliminated as superfluous in view of section 132(a) of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure, which provides that "There shall be in each judicial district a district court which shall be a court of record known as the United States District Court for the district", and section 88 of Title 28 which provides that "the District of Columbia constitutes one judicial district".

Amendments

     1987—Subsecs. (e) to (g). Pub. L. 100–181 redesignated subsecs. (f) and (g) as (e) and (f), respectively, and, in each, struck out ", the district court of the United States for the District of Columbia," after "district courts of the United States". See Codification note above.

     1970—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 91–452 struck out subsec. (e) which related to immunity from prosecution of any individual compelled to testify or produce evidence, documentary or otherwise, after claiming his privilege against self-incrimination.

Effective Date of 1970 Amendment

     Amendment by Pub. L. 91–452 effective on sixtieth day following Oct. 15, 1970, see section 260 of Pub. L. 91–452, set out as an Effective Date; Savings Provision note under section 6001 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

Savings Provision

     Amendment by Pub. L. 91–452 not to affect any immunity to which any individual is entitled under this section by reason of any testimony given before the sixtieth day following Oct. 15, 1970, see section 260 of Pub. L. 91–452, set out as an Effective Date; Savings Provision note under section 6001 of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

Transfer of Functions

     For transfer of functions of Securities and Exchange Commission, with certain exceptions, to Chairman of such Commission, see Reorg. Plan No. 10 of 1950, §§ 1, 2, eff. May 24, 1950, 15 F.R. 3175, 64 Stat. 1265, set out under section 78d of this title.

Section Referred to in Other Sections

     This section is referred to in sections 78u, 79k of this title.

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