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Memo to Senate Staff: Don't "Cash In" on Tickets

With the competition increasing by the hour for tickets to all things inaugural, a memo was sent out to Senate staffers warning them not to sell the tickets they receive. (Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has offered legislation to make the sale of tickets to the swearing-in ceremony a federal crime.) Here's the memo:

As a general matter, conversion of official Senate or House property or resources to private purposes may violate federal law and Senate and House rules. Moreover, the conflicts of interest provisions of both the Senate and House Codes of Official Conduct specifically prohibit even the appearance that Members or staff are “cashing in” on their official position (i.e., using their Senate or House position for personal gain.) These provisions are intended as a broad prohibition against members, officers, and employees deriving financial benefit, directly or indirectly, from the use of their official positions.
The JCCIC [Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies] considers the sale of tickets provided to Members, or distributed to Congressional staff for personal use, to be inappropriate and to give rise to an appearance of impropriety. Congressional personnel selling tickets will be reported to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics or the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for appropriate disciplinary action.

By David A Nakamura  |  January 12, 2009; 5:58 PM ET  | Category:  Tickets
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I find it sad that some people are profiting off something that was suppose to be free. Their were a lot of his supportors that did not recieve that benefit of recieving the special email or being invited. Since some of the congress and Senate offered lotteries, some of the real small donors and volunteers did not get the opportunity to get tickets to any of the events. Those who just wanted to profit are able to get tickets and looking at craigslist, I can see no one is paying attention of the new law trying to be passed. If you don't have money you are not going to get much be a free stand on the back of the mall.

Posted by: easternstar25 | January 12, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Feinstein should have introduced this MONTHS ago if there is any chance for this to make it through.

Capitalism aside anybody scalping these tickets should be tried and sentanced to serve 100+ hours of community service for EACH ticket they sold!

Posted by: meadmkr | January 12, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

It seems a little too late for that. I am amazed by how many 'campaign workers' are scalping their tickets on craigslist... they may not be senate workers, but it sure seems to go against everything Obama is about.

Posted by: kels78 | January 12, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, how else are the rest of us going to get tickets? It's not as if they're offering even a single ticket to the inaugural address on ticketmaster.

Anyway, the more important question is: WHEN will the $150 tix to the balls go on sale? WP, do the schlubs a favor and post it on the blog FIRST, not in the dead tree edition.

Posted by: wp11234 | January 12, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I think any warm fuzzies we could have about inauguration being a "free and open" event went out the window when the Presidential Inauguration Committee started pre-selling Ball tickets to people who donated $500 or more to either the campaign or the inauguration. There are plenty of hardworking volunteers and donors who gave what everything they could that aren't being invited to pre-buy inaugural ball tickets. So I say if there's people out there that are using the American system of capitalist economics to pay their bills, let it be.

Posted by: loisopal | January 12, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Given that the Congress is essentially in the business of selling favors and access in exchange for money (or "campaign contributions" if you want to be euphemistic), it's hardly surprising that they need to be reminded of the special rules in effect here.

Fortunately for the Congressional war chests, the Inaugural tickets are a one-time exception. Come 21 January, Congressmen will once again be free to prostitute themselves for cash.

Posted by: DupontJay | January 12, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

44 Cent Obama Inauguration T-Shirt.

VintageCotton.com has an Obama Inauguration T-Shirt for a special price of only 44 cents in honor of the inauguration of the 44th president Barack Obama.


Posted by: ZatMat | January 13, 2009 4:28 AM | Report abuse

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