Nearly every in-house counsel has dealt with a subpoena at one time or another. But less well known is an increasingly common tool used by the government: the civil investigative demand (CID). Several federal and state statutes grant the government authority to issue CID authority. For example, at the federal level, CIDs can be issued by DOJ when investigating antitrust violations and civil racketeering. Other agencies have similar power, such as the FTC in deceptive trade practices investigations and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in financial services investigations as authorized by § 1052 the Dodd-Frank Act.
The most common type, however, is associated with the civil False Claims Act (FCA), which grants broad CID powers. The power and frequency of FCA CIDs has grown in conjunction with DOJ’s current use of the FCA as its chief weapon against civil fraud.