§711.  Investigations; subpoenas; self-incrimination; conducting hearings


A.  The commissioner, at his discretion:

(1)  May make such public or private investigations within or outside of this state as he deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate this Part or any rule, regulation, or order under this Part or to aid in the enforcement of this Part or in the prescribing of rules and regulations hereunder.  

(2)  May require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise as the commissioner determines, as to all the facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated.  

(3)  May publish information concerning any violation of this Part or any rule, regulation, or order under this Part.  

B.  For the purpose of conducting any investigation as provided in this Section, the commissioner shall have the power to administer oaths, to call any party to testify under oath at such investigations, to require the attendance of witnesses, the production of books, records, and papers, and to take the depositions of witnesses; and for such purposes the commissioner is authorized to issue a subpoena for any witness or a subpoena for production of documentary evidence to compel the production of any books, records, or papers.  Said subpoenas may be served by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the addressee's business mailing address or by investigators appointed by the commissioner or shall be directed for service to the sheriff of the parish where the witness resides or is found or where such person in custody of any books, records or papers resides or is found.  

C.  In case of refusal to obey a subpoena issued under any section of this Part to any person, a judicial district court upon application by the commissioner, may issue to the person an order requiring him to appear before the court to show cause why he should not be held in contempt for refusal to obey the subpoena.  Failure to obey a subpoena may be punished by the court as a contempt of court.  

D. (1)  The commissioner may, with the approval of the attorney general, issue to any person who has been or may be called to a hearing or other proceeding under this Part a written order requiring the individual to give testimony or provide other information which he refuses to give or provide on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination.  Such order shall be issued only if the commissioner shall find that:

(a)  The testimony or other information from such individual may be in the public interest; and

(b)  Such individual has refused or is likely to refuse to testify or provide other information on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination.  

D. (2)  Whenever any witness refuses, on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or provide other information at any hearing or other proceeding under this Part and the person presiding over the proceeding delivers to the witness a written order issued under Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, the witness may not refuse to comply with the order on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination; but no testimony or other information compelled under the order as to which the witness could validly assert his privilege against self-incrimination, or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information, may be used against the witness in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, false swearing, giving a false statement to the commissioner pursuant to this Part, or otherwise failing to comply with the order.  

E.  In the case of any investigation conducted under this Section, the commissioner may hold hearings or he may appoint an investigative agent to conduct the hearings who shall have the same powers and authority in conducting the hearings as are in this Section granted to the commissioner.  The agent shall possess such qualifications as the commissioner may require.  A transcript of the testimony and evidence and objections resulting from such hearings shall be taken unless waived in writing by the commissioner and by all parties present at the hearings.  Copies of the transcript shall be available to all parties present at the hearing upon payment of a reasonable expense of reproducing such transcript.  All recommendations of the investigative agent shall be advisory only and shall not have the effect of an order of the commissioner.  

F.  In any case where hearings are conducted by an investigative agent, he shall submit to the commissioner a written report, including the transcript of the testimony in evidence, if requested by the commissioner, the findings of the hearing, and a recommendation of the action to be taken by the commissioner.  The recommendation of the agent shall be approved, modified, or disapproved by the commissioner.  The commissioner may direct an investigative agent to take additional testimony or permit introduction of further documentary evidence.  

G.  In addition to any other hearings and investigations which the commissioner is authorized or required by this Part to hold, the commissioner is also authorized to hold general investigative hearings on his own motion with respect to any matter under this Part.  A general investigative hearing as provided for may be conducted by any person designated by the commissioner for that purpose and may, but need not be, transcribed by the commissioner or by any other interested party.  No formal action may be taken as a result of such investigative hearing, but the commissioner may take such action as he deems appropriate, based on the information developed in the hearing and on any other information which he may have.  

Acts 1985, No. 722, §1.