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Inauguration officials try to shut down online ticket sales

January 18, 2013|By David Colker
  • Want one of these seats for the presidential inauguration ceremony Monday? Some are for sale online, though they are supposed to be free.
Want one of these seats for the presidential inauguration ceremony Monday?… (EPA )

Want to buy tickets to the presidential inauguration ceremony taking place in Washington on Monday?

Don't go to eBay or Craigslist -- they've agreed not to list the tickets, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

"EBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation's most sacred events," Schumer said in a statement.

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But the tickets, which are supposed to be distributed for free by members of Congress and other officials, are still very much available online  -- and in some cases for big bucks.

Greatseats.com has them listed for $289 apiece for outlying National Mall standing areas. To stand closer, you can pay $775.

But how about if you want one of the coveted seats close to the ceremony? Those are available on the site at up to $7,500.

Or at least they were available Thursday evening when The Times told Schumer's office about them.

Matt House, a spokesman for the joint committee, called back to say that Greatseats had been contacted. "We've reached out to them to take down their ticket listings," he said.

Each time committee members found out about a site offering the tickets, they've asked it to stop the practice, House said.

But the committee has no legal standing in this matter. House confirmed that selling the inauguration tickets was not against the law.

Instead, the committee appeals to the sites on the grounds of propriety and patriotism.

"We ask them to respect the integrity of the event," House said. "It states right on the tickets that they are not for sale."

A total of 250,000 free tickets were distributed to the event. Each member of Congress got the same number of tickets (House declined to say how many). Others were allocated to President Obama and members of the Supreme Court to distribute.

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