Although tickets to President Barack Obama’s inauguration are supposed to be free, online sellers are offering them for pretty hefty sums.
Inaugural tickets are handed out by Congressional offices and the Presidential Inaugural Committee to inaugural events. The committee has issued 250,000 tickets to be distributed.
Of course, basic supply and demand has taken hold here, and those fortunate enough to receive tickets have been hoping to profit off their good luck — or personal connections.
One seller on Craigslist offered two tickets to the swearing-in ceremony for $2,000 a piece. Tickets are also being sold to the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, and for one of the inaugural balls. While the swearing-in tickets are free, tickets to the parade are $25 and the ball tickets are $60 — though a second ball for members of the armed forces has free tickets.
What complicates matters is the fact that while tickets given out by the Presidential Inaugural Committee can not be resold without express permission of the committee, there is no such obligation on Congressional tickets. Even so, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the chair of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has encouraged members of Congress to fairly distribute their tickets. His office conducted a lottery for their tickets.
“Any constituent who wins tickets in the lottery that my office holds is required to pledge not to scalp the ticket to turn a profit. When the tickets are released this year, I’d encourage my colleagues in the House and Senate to take similar measures to discourage ticket holders from using those tickets to make a quick buck.”
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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