Chapter 3

Agency Investigations

3.3 General Procedures

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Agency investigations are analogous to grand jury proceedings because no case or controversy is necessary to enable the agency to invoke its investigative authority.[1] An agency investigation may be informal and nonadversarial in nature.[2] Thus, where an agency is required only to have reasonable grounds to believe that there may be a violation of law, the agency is not precluded from proceeding with its investigation on the filing of an affidavit controverting the agency’s allegations.[3] An agency investigation may not result in a final decision as provided for in Minnesota Statutes section 14.61, since such a decision may only follow an administrative contested case proceeding. Accordingly, the due process requirements relating to agency adjudications do not attach at the investigative stage of proceedings.[4] For example, the subject of an investigation ordinarily has no right to be apprised of the charges being made, to confront witnesses, or to cross-examine witnesses.[5]


[1] United States v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U.S. 642 (1950).

[2] Bhd. of Ry. & S.S. Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express & Station Emps. v. Ass’n for Benefit of Non-Contract Emps., 380 U.S. 650, 662 (1965); see, e.g., Minn. Stat. §§ 46.04,.05 (2014) (requiring periodic examinations of financial institutions).

[3] Kohn v. State, 336 N.W.2d 296 (Minn. 1983).

[4] Hannah v. Larche, 363 U.S. 420, 440 (1960); Humenansky v. Minn. Bd. of Medical Exam’rs, 525 N.W.2d 559, 566 (Minn. Ct. App. 1994) (stating that a psychiatrist’s protected interest was not implicated because her license to practice was not immediately at stake in the investigatory proceeding).

[5] Hannah, 363 U.S. at 440.