- The Washington Times - Monday, July 23, 2001

Local candidates for government office can now find strategic ways to maximize their efforts by using a new addition to the realm of e-commerce.
The first of its kind, Campaign Secrets Inc., is a campaign-consulting agency pitched to local Republican candidates. From its Internet Web site, the agency offers an array of services on campaign strategy.
"If it doesn't require a candidate, you can get it at our site," said Mark Montini, founder and CEO. "Right now, we're the only company delivering this type of service to local candidates."
The agency offers four main Web-based services. For a small fee, aspiring government officials can receive information and download materials from the site's extensive database. Members can also click onto the "Campaign Guru" service and get professional advice via e-mail for their campaign strategies. Or they can go to the site "college" to order audio and video cassette seminars, sign up for the agency newsletter and find books offering tips on how to win the votes. Another service puts them in contact with people who can help them staff their campaign, locate other service providers and get advice from other GOP candidates.
Twelve-month memberships per campaign are offered on four levels basic, bronze, silver and gold. The company, which opened in June, has 42 members.
At present Mr. Montini and chief political officer Carlyle Gregory are the only professional consultants in the company, but Mr. Montini said they hope to have at least 10 by the next campaign season.
"We're focusing on local candidates because that's the sector of campaigns that has never before had access to professional help," said Mr. Montini.
Mr. Montini is a former vice president of operations for the Leadership Institute, a conservative training group. Mr. Gregory is the president of Carlyle Gregory Company and a former special assistant of political affairs to President Reagan.
The company is the brainchild of Mr. Montini, who said he was prompted by years of hearing complaints about the lack of professional consulting help for local candidates. "When **sold** by time, service goes to the highest bidder, so local candidates have to either go without or bite the bullet and pay the fee."
But Mr. Montini's company plans to offer affordable prices by selling their services as a product instead of offering a consultant who charges by the hour.
He said the company's focus is to help local candidates benefit from the experience of seasoned campaigners and avoid repeating past mistakes.
The editor in chief of Campaigns & Elections magazine, Ronald A. Faucheux, said his publication currently provides resource contacts for campaigns and is also considering starting a Web site which would offer links to campaign services, vendors and consultants.
"There are 513,000 elected officials in the United States. More and more of their campaigns are becoming professional," said Mr. Faucheux. "It is inevitable that professional services will start to be increasingly demanded."
Mr. Faucheux said professional campaigns usually cost at least $55,000.

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