Utah Republican Party Offers Internet Access to Donors

The Utah Republican Party is selling unlimited access to the Internet for about $20 a month in an attempt to fatten campaign coffers and achieve direct access to the state's GOP supporters.

A political consultant pitched the idea to the group a few months ago, and it seemed like a natural fit, said the party's executive director, Scott Simpson. "We began offering the service about a month ago and got a 4 percent response rate from an automated telephone campaign," he said. "That effort reached out to 10,000 people, so we feel pretty good about that, but we won't have the actual number of actual sign-ups until this weekend."

People who sign up for the $19.95-a-month service are directed to the Utah Republican Party home page (www.utgop.com) to start their World Wide Web surfing.

The party receives a percentage of the per-month access fee as well as a portion of the electronic commerce transactions conducted on the site. "Flowers, travel, supplies...we get a piece of all of that," Simpson said.

Provo-based Big Planet Inc., is the Internet access provider, and Utah Republicans partner in the venture. Big Planet will handle the e-commerce transactions and will receive the political group's fund-raising lists to locate potential subscribers.

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