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Sen. Harrison Williams

Former Senator for New Jersey

Williams was a senator from New Jersey and was a Democrat. He served from 1959 to 1982.

He was previously the representative for New Jersey’s 6th congressional district as a Democrat from 1953 to 1956.

Photo of Sen. Harrison Williams [D-NJ, 1959-1982]


Williams faced an allegation of bribery connected with the ABSCAM sting. On May. 1, 1981, he was convicted and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics opened an inquiry. On Sep. 3, 1981, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics filed its report. On Mar. 11, 1982, he resigned to avoid an expulsion vote.

May. 1, 1981 Convicted.
May. 1, 1981 Senate Select Committee on Ethics opened inquiry
Sep. 3, 1981 Senate Select Committee on Ethics filed report
Mar. 11, 1982 Resigned to avoid an expulsion vote.


Ideology–Leadership Chart

Williams is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 1982 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 Williams sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 4, 1977 to Dec 23, 1982. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Williams was the primary sponsor of 22 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 22 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

Williams sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Government Operations and Politics (18%) Labor and Employment (18%) Economics and Public Finance (15%) Housing and Community Development (12%) Finance and Financial Sector (11%) Private Legislation (9%) Taxation (9%) Social Welfare (8%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Williams recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Missed Votes

From Jan 1959 to Mar 1982, Williams missed 961 of 9,306 roll call votes, which is 10.3%. This is worse than the median of 7.2% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Mar 1982. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

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

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Primary Sources

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