The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint alleging that Utah millionaire financier Ian Cumming violated federal election laws by donating too much in 1992.

The commission said this week it dismissed the charges because Cumming took action to rectify problems, such as seeking refunds to get back under the limit.Also, his was among 44 "minor" cases that the commission decided to close so it is "able to use its limited resources to focus on more important cases," according to its general counsel's report.

The watchdog Center for Responsive Politics filed a complaint against Cumming in January alleging that donations he made to federal campaigns in 1992 amounted to $33,468 - or $8,468 more than the $25,000 contribution limit allowed by law.

Lawyers for Cumming wrote that several misunderstandings made him appear to go over the limit.

They said a $2,000 and a $1,166 donation to the Utah State Democratic Committee were double-counted by it on reports to the Federal Election Commission but were later corrected.

They said Cumming received a $3,166 refund because the money should have been deposited in the Democratic Party's non-federal account, where it would not apply toward federal limits.

Lawyers said Cumming also requested and received a refund of $2,500 from a group called Participation 2000, saying he did not realize it was a federal political action committee and donations to it applied to the $25,000 cap.

Cumming's lawyers said his actions brought his 1992 contributions to $24,636 - just under the limit.

The FEC voted 6-0 to dismiss the case without action. Of note, 1992 Republican Senate Candidate Joe Cannon agreed to pay $600 in fines after he said he inadvertently violated limits and also sought refunds to correct it. And Cannon himself notified the FEC about the problem.

Cumming - a member of the State Board of Regents and head of several Utah corporation - for years has been one of the state's top political donors.

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A Deseret News study showed he was the top political donor last year, when he gave $29,462 to Democratic candidates nationwide in 1993. That did not violate the $25,000 limit because some money was for campaigns in other years.

During the first three months of 1994, Cumming also donated $100,000 for "party-building activities" to the Democratic National Committee (which doesn't count against the $25,000 limit).

Some of his financial help caused controversy in 1991 when former Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, acknowledged several firms headed by Cumming gave him a total of $12,000 in 1990 speech fees for doing little more than talking to executives over breakfast.

That was legal at the time, but Congress has since banned accepting such fees.

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