WASHINGTON — Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) more than quadrupled his $75,100 congressional salary and Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) nearly tripled his with other income they and their wives received last year, according to 1986 tax returns made available to The Times Wednesday.
The disclosures were made at a time when elected officials, responding to concerns about possible conflict of interest between public duty and private gain, increasingly are opening their personal finances to scrutiny.
According to their joint returns, Cranston and his wife, Norma, paid $115,855 in federal and California taxes on adjusted gross income of $271,204 last year. That was an increase over 1985, when they paid about $86,000 in taxes on adjusted income of $211,000.
$325,000 Was Received
Not counting various deductions and expenses, the Cranstons actually received nearly $325,000 last year, including roughly $92,000 from rental properties, $48,000 from capital gains, $60,000 from a state pension, $20,000 in Social Security benefits, $18,000 in speaking and writing fees, and $10,000 in interest and dividends.
Wilson and his wife Gayle, who brought considerable wealth to their 1983 marriage, paid $46,553 in state and federal taxes on adjusted gross income of $135,925 last year. Those numbers were down from 1985, when the Wilsons paid about $63,000 in taxes on adjusted income of $187,000.
Their 1986 income before deductions and expenses totaled nearly $204,000, including roughly $68,000 related to the sale of an apartment building, $9,000 in beer company stock dividends, $33,000 in speaking fees and $2,151 earned by Mrs. Wilson--listed on tax returns as a housewife--to produce several television news features.
Cranston, a millionaire whose net worth has doubled over the last 13 years, has large commercial and residential holdings in California dating back to his involvement in the family real-estate business in the 1940s. His tax return shows that he collected $125,688 in rents from the properties and deducted $33,773 for expenses and $5,738 for depreciation.
Break Has Been Repealed
Several blind trusts and partnerships produced $48,190 in capital gains from sales of property; Cranston reduced the taxable amount by $28,914 by taking the 60% deduction for long-term gains. In 1978, Cranston was instrumental in getting Congress to sharply increase this tax break, but it was repealed for 1987 and beyond in last year's tax overhaul bill.
Cranston received $59,530 from a state retirement fund tied to his service as California controller from 1958 to 1966. The National Taxpayers Union has criticized members of Congress as "double dippers" for accepting state government and military pensions along with their congressional pay.
The 72-year-old Cranston also received $12,306 in Social Security and Medicare benefits and his wife received $7,768. Because they had large overall income, half of the total benefits were taxed.
The senator received $20,552 in honorariums for speaking and writing engagements off Capitol Hill. He deducted $2,427 for travel expenses.
The Cranstons also deducted $4,775 for charitable contributions, including $1,000 apiece to the Red Cross, the Nature Conservancy and American Friends of Hebrew University Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
Apartment Building Sold
Wilson, who had few assets when he was elected to the Senate in 1982, soon thereafter married a woman who brought sizable stock and property holdings from her previous marriage. The property included an apartment building in Dallas that was subsequently sold, with payments made in yearly installments. Last year's installment totaled $48,190.
Stock Mrs. Wilson received from her former husband was converted into Anheuser Busch stock, which paid $8,975 in dividends last year. To avoid a conflict of interest, the senator voted "present" last year when the Senate acted on a bill affecting the wholesale distribution of beer.
"He doesn't even drink Budweiser," Wilson aide Lynda Royster quipped, referring to an Anheuser Busch brand. She said that most of the stock was recently sold and that all of Mrs. Wilson's securities have been put in a blind trust to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
The senator earned $32,832 in honorariums for speeches, some of which were delivered to special-interest groups having business before Congress. He contributed $3,600 to charity.