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Sen. Alan Cranston

Former Senator for California

Cranston was a senator from California and was a Democrat. He served from 1969 to 1992.

Alleged misconduct & resolution

In 1989, Sen. Cranston improperly intervened with federal banking regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, Jr., a campaign donor, and his savings and loan business. Because Keating's campaign contributions came so close in time to Cranston's actions, he was reprimanded by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. An odd aspect of Cranston's "punishment" was that he was allowed to rebut his reprimand on the floor of the Senate. To his colleagues' displeasure, he declared that if he was guilty of wrongdoing, then so was the entire Senate. He did not run for re-election in 1992.

1991 Senate Select Committee on Ethics issued a reprimand on behalf of and in front of the full U.S. Senate, but no formal action was taken by the full Senate
Nov. 20, 1991 Senate Select Committee on Ethics published a report on the investigation of Sen. Cranston (Senate Select Comm. on Ethics, Investigation of Sen. Alan Cranston, S. Rep. 102-223, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. (1991))
1992 Did not run for re-election.
Photo of Sen. Alan Cranston [D-CA, 1969-1992]


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Cranston is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 1992 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Cranston sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 6, 1987 to Oct 8, 1992. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Cranston was the primary sponsor of 87 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 87 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Cranston sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Armed Forces and National Security (41%) Government Operations and Politics (15%) Health (13%) International Affairs (10%) Housing and Community Development (7%) Foreign Trade and International Finance (5%)

Recent Bills

Some of Cranston’s most recently sponsored bills include...

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Voting Record

Missed Votes

From Jan 1969 to Oct 1992, Cranston missed 1,096 of 10,635 roll call votes, which is 10.3%. This is much worse than the median of 4.7% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Oct 1992. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: