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Boren Defends Cranston's Role in Campaign Reform

February 20, 1990|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.) on Monday denied reports that Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) has been trying to weaken the campaign reform legislation that Democrats will offer on the Senate floor next month.

Boren was responding to a report in the Sunday New York Times that Cranston was seeking to undermine Democratic support for the bill, which was co-written by Boren and Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell (D-Me.). The report was based primarily on statements by Greg Kubiak, a Boren aide.

Cranston, who already has denied the report, was sensitive to the charges primarily because he is currently under investigation for allegedly doing unusual favors for a big campaign contributor.

In a statement issued by his office, Boren said that he had been soliciting ideas for campaign reform and had asked Cranston to talk to other senators about the issue.

"Let me set the record straight," Boren said. "Sen. Cranston has at no time sought any special role for himself on this issue . . . . I asked Sen. Cranston, as I did several others, to talk to other senators to get their views. He has been talking with others to gain their suggestions."

Boren supported statements by Cranston's aides that the California senator supports the Boren-Mitchell bill, even though he has offered some suggestions to change it.

"All ideas he has conveyed to me have been strongly supportive of campaign reform and in no way designed to weaken our proposals," Boren said. "I have yet to encounter a single Democratic senator who is not committed to passing real campaign reform this year."

Boren said that the allegations against Cranston were based on "an honest misunderstanding." He did not elaborate.

Cranston is one of five senators currently under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee for intervening with federal regulators in 1987 on Charles H. Keating Jr.'s behalf when his thrift, Lincoln Savings & Loan, was under investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Before intervening for Keating, Cranston had received about $35,000 in campaign contributions from Keating and his associates.

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