Georgia Code Title 43. Professions and Businesses § 43-17-11

(a) The Secretary of State, in enforcing this chapter, may:

(1) 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 chapter or any rule, regulation, or order under this chapter or to aid in the enforcement of this chapter;

(2) Require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise as the Secretary of State determines, as to all the facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be investigated; and

(3) Publish in print or electronically information concerning any violation of this chapter or any rule, regulation, or order under this chapter.

(b)(1) For the purpose of conducting any investigation as provided in this Code section, the Secretary of State shall have the power to administer oaths, to call any party to testify under oath at such investigation, to require the attendance of witnesses, to require the production of books, records, and papers, and to take the depositions of witnesses. For such purposes the Secretary of State is authorized to issue a subpoena for any witness or a subpoena for the production of documentary evidence. Such subpoenas may be served by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the addressee's business mailing address or by investigators appointed by the Secretary of State or shall be directed for service to the sheriff of the county where such witness resides or is found or where the person in custody of any books, records, or papers resides or is found. The fees and mileage of the sheriff, witness, or person shall be paid from the funds in the state treasury for the use of the Secretary of State in the same manner that other expenses of the Secretary of State are paid.

(2) The Secretary of State may issue and apply to enforce subpoenas in this state at the request of the administrator of the charitable solicitation laws of another state if the activities constituting an alleged violation for which the information is sought would be a violation of this chapter if the activities had occurred in this state.

(c) In case of refusal to obey a subpoena issued under any Code section of this chapter to any person, a superior court of appropriate jurisdiction, upon application by the Secretary of State, 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 contempt of court.

(d) In addition to any other hearings and investigations which the Secretary of State is authorized or required by this chapter to hold, the Secretary of State is also authorized to hold general investigative hearings on his own motion with respect to any matter under this chapter. A general investigative hearing as provided for in this subsection may be conducted by a person designated by the Secretary of State for that purpose and may, but need not be, transcribed by the Secretary of State or by any other interested party. No formal action may be taken as a result of such investigative hearings, but the Secretary of State 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.

(e) The Secretary of State may cooperate with the Attorney General in enforcing the provisions of this chapter.  Said cooperation includes, but is not limited to, making a joint examination or investigation;  holding joint administrative hearings;  filing and prosecuting a joint civil or administrative proceeding;  sharing and exchanging information and documents;  and disclosing information and documents obtained in connection with an investigation.  When the Attorney General has initiated a civil or administrative proceeding in connection with a joint investigation under this subsection he or she may publish in print or electronically information concerning any violation of this chapter or Part 2 of Article 15 of Chapter 1 of Title 10, known as the “Fair Business Practices Act of 1975.”

(f) To encourage uniform interpretation and administration of this chapter and effective regulation and enforcement, the Secretary of State may cooperate with state law enforcement or regulatory agencies and agencies or administrators of one or more states, Canadian provinces or territories, another country, appropriate federal agencies, any national or international organization of officials or agencies, and any governmental law enforcement or regulatory agency. Such cooperation includes, but is not limited to, making a joint registration examination or investigation; holding joint administrative hearings; filing and prosecuting a joint civil or administrative proceeding; sharing and exchanging personnel; sharing and exchanging information and documents; and disclosing information obtained in connection with an investigation under this Code section to the extent provided in this Code section and if disclosure is for the purpose of a civil, administrative, or criminal investigation or proceeding by a local, state, or federal law enforcement or regulatory agency and the receiving agency presents that, under the applicable law, protections exist to preserve the integrity, confidentiality, and security of the information.


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