18 USC § 1505. Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees
Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so; or
Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—
Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 770; Pub. L. 87–664, §6(a), Sept. 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 551; Pub. L. 91–452, title IX, §903, Oct. 15, 1970, 84 Stat. 947; Pub. L. 94–435, title I, §105, Sept. 30, 1976, 90 Stat. 1389; Pub. L. 97–291, §4(d), Oct. 12, 1982, 96 Stat. 1253; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, §330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147; Pub. L. 108–458, title VI, §6703(a), Dec. 17, 2004, 118 Stat. 3766.)
Historical and Revision Notes
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §241a, (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §135a, as added Jan. 13, 1940, ch. 1, 54 Stat. 13; June 8, 1945, ch. 178, §2, 59 Stat. 234).
Word “agency” was substituted for the words “independent establishment, board, commission” in two instances to eliminate any possible ambiguity as to scope of section. (See definitive section 6 of this title.)
Minor changes were made in phraseology.
References in Text
The Antitrust Civil Process Act, referred to in text, is Pub. L. 87–664, Sept. 19, 1962, 76 Stat. 548, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 34 (§1311 et seq.) of Title 15, Commerce and Trade. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1311 of Title 15 and Tables.
2004—Pub. L. 108–458, which directed amendment of the third undesignated paragraph of this section by substituting “be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both” for “be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both”, was executed by making the substitution for “be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both”, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.
1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $5,000” in last par.
1982—Pub. L. 97–291 struck out first two paragraphs which provided, respectively, that whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavored to influence, intimidate, or impede any witness in any proceeding pending before any department or agency of the United States, or in connection with any inquiry or investigation being had by either House, or any committee of either House, or any joint committee of the Congress, and whoever injured any party or witness in his person or property on account of his attending or having attended such proceeding, inquiry, or investigation, or on account of his testifying or having testified to any matter pending therein, would be subject to the penalty set forth in the last paragraph, and in the fourth paragraph substituted “any pending” for “such” after “law under which”, and substituted “any” for “such” before “department” and before “inquiry”.
1976—Pub. L. 94–435 struck out “section 1968 of this title” after “Antitrust Civil Process Act”, inserted “withholds, misrepresents” after “willfully”, “covers up” after “conceals”, “answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony”, after “any documentary material”, and “or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so;” after “such demand”.
1970—Pub. L. 91–452 inserted reference to section 1968 of this title.
1962—Pub. L. 87–664 substituted section catchline “Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees” for “Influencing or injuring witness before agencies and committees” and punished the willful removal, concealment, destruction, mutilation, alteration or falsification of documents which were the subject of a demand under the Antitrust Civil Process Act if done with the intent to prevent compliance with a civil investigative demand.
Effective Date of 1982 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 97–291 effective Oct. 12, 1982, see section 9(a) of Pub. L. 97–291, set out as an Effective Date note under section 1512 of this title.
Effective Date of 1976 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 94–435 effective Sept. 30, 1976, see section 106 of Pub. L. 94–435, set out as a note under section 1311 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.