It’s someone whose name has been associated with Big Government and politics for more than a half-century, but a little known fact about the late Ohio Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum is that he was also a ticket scalper.

Metzenbaum, who died last week at age 90 was a trombone-playing, flower-and-magazine-selling student at Ohio State University Law School when he also turned to ticket scalping to help pay his way through school, according to his obituary in the Washington Post. Metzenbaum resold tickets right out in front of the stadium for Ohio State football games during the 1930s.

The much-honored and feared Democratic senator made it his specialty to find special-interest legislation hidden in major bills and proceeded to do all in his power to block such legislation. He knew his way around filibusters and amendments, forcing opponents to deal with him. On the way, he became the hero of labor and consumers. According to the Washington Post, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said, “He was the conscience of the Senate, who never shied away from the difficult fights, and never apologized for standing up for workers. He was a master of using every rule of the Senate to advance the cause of working men and women.”

After a long and often contentious career in politics, 19 years of which was in the Senate, Metzenbaum retired in 1997. But even on that last day in office, he did what he did best. He fought to upset the juggernaut of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, arguing that the agreement would perpetuate foreign child-labor abuses. He also predicted that the agreement would further the demise of U.S. factories, and looking at today’s economic picture, he may have been right.

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