CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.
Hughes, McReynolds, Brandeis, Butler, Stone, Black, Reed; Roberts and Reed took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HUGHES delivered the opinion of the Court.
On January 6, 1936, the Federal Power Commission instituted an investigation to determine the "conditions, practices, and matters regarding the ownership, operation, management, and control" of the respondent corporations.
The order directed respondents to file with the Commission copies of contracts and statements of working arrangements between respondents and persons controlling them, and statements of charges on respondents' books for 1934 and 1935 representing payments made and obligations incurred to such persons. Respondents were also directed to make their books, records, etc., available for examination by the Commission's representatives. The investigation was instituted on representations of the Governor and Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania.
Respondents challenged the jurisdiction of the Commission to make the order, and, reserving their right to question its legality, they furnished various data and information. Following an examination of the books and records of respondents, the Commission's examiners submitted a report on December 10, 1936.
Thereupon the Commission, on January 26, 1937, made an order providing that a hearing should be held on March 3, 1937. The order recited that the respondents had reported charges appearing upon their books which represented payments made and obligations incurred to named persons as (a) "conceded affiliates" and (b) "not conceded affiliates," respectively; that the examination of the books and records of respondents and of admitted affiliates disclosed transactions between respondents and additional named persons, and that the accounting representatives of the Commission has submitted a report indicating that certain named persons "control respondents, or are controlled by the same persons which control respondents." The order then directed respondents to appear at the hearing, as stated, and to present information bearing upon the question of control and specifically showing (1) their form of organization, respectively, (2) their articles of incorporation, partnership agreements or other documents of organization,
(3) the names and addresses of partners, directors, officers, trustees and agents, (4) the ownership held by such persons "in or over any other person named above," as well as the manner by which such ownership was maintained, and (5) such other data as might from time to time be required by the Commission. The order further directed that a copy of the report prepared by the accounting representatives of the Commission should be served on each person named, and the Commission gave notice that the hearing would be had by the Commission sitting jointly with the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania. See Federal Power Act, § 209(b), 49 Stat. 853.
Respondents then filed with the Commission a petition for rehearing as to the order of January 26, 1937, asking for the vacating of that order and the termination of the proceeding initiated by the order of January 6, 1936. Respondents contended that the Commission lacked jurisdiction to conduct an investigation concerning the propriety of contracts and working arrangements between respondents and third persons, and, in particular, (1) that the Commission was without power to investigate for the purpose of supplying information to a state commission for use in local proceedings for violations of local law, and, (2) that as to three of the respondents the Commission was without jurisdiction of their persons because they were not "public utilities" as defined in the Federal Power Act.
The Commission thereupon adjourned without day the hearing directed by the order of January 26, 1937. Later, the Commission granted the petition for rehearing and assigned "the matters involved" for hearing on April 14, 1937. Respondents then appeared and introduced evidence tending to support their ...