The two statutes are unambiguous. They exempt from prosecution any person who produces records in response to a subpoena issued by the administrative agency if the prosecution is to be based on information contained in such records.
It is claimed by the Administrator, however, that the statute should not receive this broad construction. Subsection (b) of the same section of the Emergency Price Control Act authorizes the Administrator to require any person who is engaged in the business of dealing in any commodity to make and keep records and other documents and to furnish information. It is admitted that the records involved in this proceeding are records which the Administrator required to be kept under the regulations issued by him pursuant to this statutory authority. The Administrator claims that the immunity provision should not apply in respect of records which are so required to be maintained, but only as to any other records or information. The Administrator bases his contention on the proposition that the privilege of the Fifth Amendment does not apply to records which regulations require to be kept.
The difficulty is, however, that the statute contains no such exception and no such limitation. It may well be that the statutory immunity is broader than the constitutional immunity. As to that, I express no opinion. To read into the statute the qualification which the Administrator would have this Court insert into the Act would practically be to amend an Act of Congress by judicial construction. The Act as it stands is unambiguous and unequivocal as well as comprehensive. An insertion of the restriction would, in effect, be an amendment of the Act.
The Court is impressed by the argument of the Administrator that the broad immunity provisions would frequently defeat criminal prosecutions and contempt proceedings brought to enforce the Emergency Price Control Act and the regulations issued thereunder. This is a consideration, however, to be addressed to the Congress, rather than to a judicial tribunal, because, as frequently has been said, if a statute is unambiguous, there is no room for construction. If the Congress made the immunity provision so broad as to hamper and perhaps at times frustrate enforcement, Congress alone can provide the remedy.
It is my view that the statute should be construed so as to accord immunity from prosecution on the basis of information obtained from any records produced in response to a subpoena issued by the Administrator, because the statute contains no exception and no limitation and there is no ambiguity or obscurity in the legislative enactment.
For these reasons, I shall grant the motion and dismiss the rule.
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