Flag Reseller ‘Temporarily’ Halts Sales

Posted January 28, 2004 at 6:07pm

A Web-based business engaged in the controversial practice of reselling flags flown over the Capitol at up to a 500 percent markup appears to have halted its activities this week.

A message on the Capitol Flags Web site Wednesday stated that the company is “temporarily not processing new orders” but urges customers to “please check back soon!”

As Roll Call first reported Tuesday, the Architect of the Capitol recently warned Members of Congress that Capitol Flags was purchasing a high volume of flags through lawmakers’ office and reselling them at a greatly increased price. The practice does not appear to break any laws.

In a letter to Roll Call, Capitol Flags President Kristen Vojacek defended her company’s business activities, stating that many people “would never know such a service existed if not for our efforts, which includes extensive advertising.”

Vojacek said customers have told her company that they have received their flags much quicker from Capitol Flags than if they had purchased them through lawmakers.

But after Capitol Hill officials denounced the company’s practices as “price-gouging” — a flag that can be purchased through a Member for about $20 costs upward of $80 from CapitolFlags.com — the company appears to have switched gears. The site now lists only flag display cases and flags not said to be flown over the Capitol; all references to flags flown over the Capitol have been removed.

Vojacek did not respond to messages Wednesday.

A spokesman for House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) said the panel expects to look into the practice.

Meanwhile, Congressional offices are considering ways to better publicize that the public can buy flags flown over the Capitol directly from their Senators or their Representatives.