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Craigslist, eBay to stop sale of inauguration tickets

EBay Inc. and Craigslist have pledged to stop the sale of scalped tickets to President Barack Obama's inauguration after a push from New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer.

Tickets for the Jan. 21 inaugural ceremonies, which are meant to be free and are marked with the phrase "Not for Sale," were being offered online, in some cases for thousands of dollars, according to a news release yesterday from the joint congressional committee overseeing the inauguration.

Schumer, the committee's chairman, had asked eBay and Craigslist to block the sales.

"This year's presidential inaugural ceremonies are not for sale," Schumer said in a statement. "EBay and Craigslist are doing the right thing in stopping the sale of scalped tickets to one of our nation's most sacred events." EBay, operator of the world's largest online marketplace, will enforce a policy prohibiting the ticket listings on its site. The company's StubHub ticket unit already bans the practice.

"The tickets that were up for sale for President Obama's inauguration have been removed from EBay," Amanda Christine Miller, a company spokeswoman, said in an email. The listings violate the company's ticket policy, she said.

Employees of Craigslist, which hosts online classified ads, will monitor the site and remove ticket listings, according to the inaugural committee release.

Officials at Craigslist didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tickets permit access to areas closest to the west front of the U.S. Capitol, where Obama will be sworn in, said Matt House, a spokesman for the congressional inaugural committee. A total of 250,000 are being distributed to the Obama administration, Congress and the Supreme Court, with most going to members of Congress who can give them to constituents, he said.

The public can view the inauguration from other spots without a ticket.

An estimated 1.8 million people watched Obama take the oath of office in 2009. Officials predict the crowd this year may be less than half that.

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