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eBay to Ban Resale of Inaugural Tickets

UPDATE: 4 p.m.

eBay Inc. is banning the sale of coveted free tickets to the swearing-in of President-elect Barack Obama after a U.S. senator said she was crafting a bill to make such online sales a federal crime.

Representatives of the online auction site met with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies this week and came to a mutual decision on the prohibition, said Nichola Sharpe, a spokeswoman for eBay.

“The tickets are free. We felt that it is an official event,” Sharpe said in an interview today. “We think it’s in the best interest of all concerned.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the committee, announced Monday that she was contacting sites, like eBay and Craigslist, to ask them to stop selling the tickets to the Jan. 20 event. She also said she was drafting legislation to criminalize the sales.

There are only 240,000 tickets — not nearly enough to meet the demand of the public, which has flooded members of the House and Senate with ticket requests. The demand for the hot tickets has caused a flurry of online auctioning at exorbitant prices, and Feinstein said she heard reports of tickets going for as much as $40,000.

The tickets will be distributed about a week before the ceremony by members of Congress. They allow people to see the swearing-in from a main viewing area on the National Mall between the West Front of the Capitol and Fourth Street NW.
Tickets currently being offered on eBay will be removed, and the ban extends to eBay’s other online ventures Stubhub and Kijiji, Sharpe said.

eBay is also determining which other inaugural events, including the parade, should be off-limits. The company is awaiting the formation of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which oversees the parade and other events, Sharpe said.

-- Nikita Stewart


By Marcia Davis  |  November 13, 2008; 2:55 PM ET  | Category:  Tickets
Previous: Obama Camp: Hudson Not Invited to Perform | Next: Marching Band Application Deadline for Parade Is Friday

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dianne feinstein is, "... drafting legislation to criminalize the sales."


it's too bad these congressman sit with their thumbs up their a$$es 364 days of the year, and only work on 1 day, and then pass a law such as this.

who is this law helping? why doesn't feinstein go concentrate on some BAD GUY instead?

Posted by: DriveByPoster | November 13, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse


INMATE 38987: "what are you in for?"

INMATE 00033: "murdered a family of 14 on christmas day. you?"

INMATE 38987: "sold an obama ticket on ebay."

INMATE 00033: "YOU B*STARD!!!"

Posted by: DriveByPoster | November 13, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This is great but it is not going to keep the masses from invading our city on January 20th. Just watch the crime rate soar from the 17th to the 20th. Just like the NBA all-star game weekend this event will attract the worst element possible like gangster rappers, their hangers-oners, pick-pockets, and others who feed on the unsuspecting. The police department is going to have to work 14 hour days and its a good thing that they are calling in reinforcements from the suburbs, Philly, NYC, etc.

A shame that the election of the first black president is going to cause all of this but you heard it here first.

Posted by: MKadyman | November 13, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Like a great president once said "It's not sex" ---

Posted by: doggit1 | November 13, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I also posted this on the ticket site, too, but with all this furore over tickets, I'm not clear about exactly what they entitle you to more than if you just show up downtown along the parade route. I've read the various posts and still don't know what advantage having tickets is.

Posted by: philly123 | November 17, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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