Washington: Tickets to President Barack Obama`s inauguration this month are supposed to be free, but they`re being sold on eBay and Craigslist for up to USD 2,000 apiece.
Efforts by congressional offices and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which are distributing tickets to inaugural events, haven`t stopped online entrepreneurs.
"These tix are going like hot cakes, and for FAR more than I am listing them for on here," boasted one anonymous seller in a post yesterday on Craigslist.
The seller, who did not return an email from The Associated Press, offered two seats to the January 21 swearing-in at the Capitol for USD 4,000.
Even though enthusiasm isn`t as high as it was for Obama`s historic inauguration four years ago, memories of the incredible crowd for that sprawling outdoor event seem to have driven up prices for this year.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies issued some 250,000 tickets for lawmakers to give out however they see fit.
Scalping the tickets is not illegal. But the committee`s chairman, Sen Chuck Schumer, says he is encouraging members of Congress to distribute them fairly.
Unlike congressional tickets, tickets distributed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee can`t be resold without permission of the committee.
Although tickets for the swearing-in ceremony are free, some other inaugural events charge admission.
The presidential committee is sold out of USD 25 tickets to the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue and USD 60 tickets to one of its two inaugural balls.
The committee says it`s contacting ticket brokers and websites where tickets are being sold and asking that they be alerted to scalping efforts.
Even with the warnings, the Internet marketplace is thriving.
Online ads on sites like Craigslist, eBay and StubHub offered ticket packages yesterday for upward of USD 4,000 to presidential committee events.