Friday, November 06, 2009

Sports, Economics and Politics Collide When Government Officials Get World Series Tickets

The article is Lawmakers Score Ticket Deal: Baseball Sells Officials Scarce World Series Seats at Face Value, Far Below Going Rate. Why would teams give up profit? My guess is that something else is in the offer, something only politicians can trade. Here is the intro to the article:

"Tickets for Wednesday's World Series game are nearly impossible to come by at face value. But that isn't the case if you are a member of Congress or one of their aides.

Federal lawmakers and people who work for them have gotten their hands on scores of tickets to the sold-out World Series games this year between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies courtesy of a perk not available to the public.

Major League Baseball and the teams sell a limited number of prime seats to lawmakers and congressional aides at face value, often hundreds of dollars less than the going rate.

The league has sold about 75 World Series tickets to a total of 15 lawmakers or aides in the past week, according to Pat Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball. Mr. Courtney declined to identify which lawmakers and aides sought the tickets.

Because the recipients pay for the tickets, the offer complies with ethics rules for Congress and the executive branch. The arrangement, however, highlights what some ethics watchdogs say is a loophole in recently tightened congressional ethics rules, which ban officials from receiving just about any gifts.

"Anytime you have access to something that regular people don't have, it should be considered a gift," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "Regular people can't call the Major League Baseball office and get tickets.""

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