FTC v. American Tobacco Co.
264 U.S. 298 (1924)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

FTC v. American Tobacco Co., 264 U.S. 298 (1924)

Federal Trade Commission v. American Tobacco Company

Nos. 206 and 207

Argued March 7, 1924

Decided March 17, 1924

264 U.S. 298

ERROR TO THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

1. The clause of the Federal Trade Commission Act, § 6(d), empowering the commission to investigate and report facts as to alleged violation of the Anti-Trust Acts when directed by either house of Congress will not support its demand for disclosure of the records of a corporation in an investigation directed by the Senate not based on such an alleged violation. P. 264 U. S. 305.

2. The mere facts of carrying on commerce not confined within state lines and of being organized as a corporation do not make men's affairs public. Id.

3. A governmental fishing expedition into the papers of a private corporation, on the possibility that they may disclose evidence of crime, is so contrary to first principles of justice, if not defiant of

Page 264 U. S. 299

the Fourth Amendment, that an intention to grant the power to a subordinate agency will not be attributed to Congress unless expressed in most explicit language. P. 264 U. S. 306.

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