“We worked our butts off, and I’m going to watch it on TV instead of being there,” said one former staffer. “It’s a huge bummer.”

Former staffers — who spoke to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity to preserve their relationships, and possible jobs, in Obama’s second term — say they have grown frustrated by what they see as inadequate communication from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the group responsible for the inaugural balls, and in particular by its restrictions on access to the official events.

“I didn’t hear anything from PIC until a little more than a week ago,” said another staffer. “They knew this was happening. Instead of giving us details [of what we could attend] on November 7th, we found out so late that it would cost me $2,000 to go to Washington for a weekend as opposed to $1,000 or less if I booked two months ago.”