The Senate Ethics Committee, signaling the Keating Five investigation will end soon, is giving Alan Cranston until March 18 to answer charges of possible misconduct.

"We believe the committee already has a sufficient record on which to base its final decision in your case," the committee wrote Cranston on Tuesday.The California Democrat is the only senator still under investigation for his ties to Charles H. Keating Jr., a political donor who owned the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan. He could face a possible censure by the Senate.

"I have not yet determined the wisest course to follow. That's what I'm now trying to seek to do," Cranston told reporters after learning of the March 18 deadline. "The committee said they would like to determine the next step by then."

Cranston returned to the Capitol on Tuesday after more than three months of treatment for prostate cancer.

Keating donated or helped raise $1.3 million for the five senators' campaigns and political causes. Most of the donations came while Lincoln was under intense scrutiny by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board.

Cranston received the most money from Keating and his associates among the five senators. The donations were valued at more than $1.1 million, including $850,000 for three voter registration projects backed by Cranston.