(a) The Commission on Special Investigations may, by majority vote:
(1) Conduct a comprehensive and detailed investigation into the purchasing practices and procedures of the state;
(2) Determine if there is reason to believe that the laws or public policy of the state in connection with purchasing practices and procedures have been violated or are inadequate;
(3) Determine if any criminal or civil statutes relating to the purchasing practices and procedures in this state are necessary to protect and control the expenditures of money by the state;
(4) Investigate or examine any matter involving conflicts of interest, bribery of state officials, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office by any employee or officer of the state;
(5) Conduct comprehensive and detailed investigations to determine if any criminal or civil statutes have been violated at any level of state government;
(6) Determine whether to recommend criminal prosecution or civil action for any violation, either criminal or civil, at any level of state government and, if it is determined that action is necessary, to make appropriate recommendation to the Attorney General, prosecuting attorney, or other authority empowered to act on the recommendation; and
(7) Make written reports deemed advisable by the commission to the members of the Legislature between its sessions. On the first day of each regular session of the Legislature, the commission shall make an annual report on its activities to the Legislature containing recommendations for any proposed legislation which it considers necessary to carry the recommendations into effect.
(b) The commission may also:
(1) Sit during any recess of the Senate and House of Delegates;
(2) Recommend to the judge of any circuit court that a grand jury be convened pursuant to the provisions of §52-2-14 of this code to consider any matter which the commission considers in the public interest and, in support thereof, make available to the court and the grand jury the contents of any reports, files, transcripts of hearings, or other evidence pertinent to the matter;
(3) Employ necessary legal, technical, investigative, clerical, stenographic, advisory, and other personnel and, within the appropriation specified in §4-5-4 of this code, fix reasonable compensation of any persons and firms that are employed. The commission"s investigative staff may consist of a director, deputy director, senior investigators, and investigators as approved by the cochairs: Provided, That the commission may authorize certain employees of the commission to administer oaths and take affidavits and depositions anywhere in the state;
(4) Consult and confer with all public and private persons and organizations, any entity of federal or state government or of any political subdivision of the state, that have information and data pertinent to an investigation; and all state agencies and state political subdivisions shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the commission;
(5) Call upon any entity of state government or of any political subdivision of the state for any services, information, and assistance the commission considers advisable;
(6) Refer appropriate matters to the office of the United States Attorney, or other appropriate state or federal law-enforcement entity, and cooperate with such office in the disposition of matters so referred; and
(7) Interview witnesses and require production from any entity of state government, or of any political subdivision of the state, of books, records, documents, papers, computers, laptops, computer hard drives, electronic records including, but not limited to, emails, electronic files, electronic documents and metadata, or any other thing, in any form in which it may exist, as the commission believes should be examined to make a complete investigation, except where the records, documents, data, or items are protected from disclosure by state or federal law or privilege recognized by state or federal courts: Provided, That a request for production pursuant to this subdivision may be in the form of a written letter from the director of the commission in lieu of a subpoena.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, specific personnel may be designated by the commission to carry a firearm in the course of performing his or her official duties: Provided, That as a precondition of being authorized to carry a concealed weapon in the course of their official duties, any such designated personnel shall first successfully complete a firearms training and certification program which is equivalent to that which is required of members of the State Police. A person so designated shall also possess a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in the manner prescribed in §61-7-1 et seq. of this code.