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eBay halts inauguration ticket sales

Auction site agrees to stop selling tickets to President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in, after lawmakers express concerns about scams.

eBay has removed tickets for the upcoming presidential inauguration from its Web sites in an effort to help curb scams.

Tickets to the January 20 event have been listed on eBay and sites like StubHub, an eBay subsidiary, for tens of thousands of dollars. The home page of reads, "Our prices reflect the difficulty in obtaining hard-to-find, quality tickets."

eBay decided to halt the ticket sales on Thursday after meeting this week with the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Any Web site or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth," Howard Gantman, staff director for the committee, said in a statement on the committee's site.

House and Senate members for the 111th Congress are distributing tickets for free, but the tickets will not even be available at congressional offices until the week before the inauguration. About 240,000 tickets will be available for the inauguration, which takes place at the U.S. Capitol.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the inaugural committee, said she will be introducing legislation before the year is up to make selling inaugural tickets a misdemeanor, according to the Times.