In 1980, Metzger won the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives with over 40,000 votes in a San Diego-area district. The national Democratic Party chairman disavowed his candidacy, instead endorsing the incumbent four-term Republican, who subsequently won the election. In 1982, he sought the Democratic Party's senatorial nomination, winning almost 76,000 votes in the Democratic Party primary.
In 1991, he was sentenced to six months in prison and 300 hours of community service by working with minorities, for "unlawful assembly" in association with a burning of a cross in 1983.
Leftist Wikipedia makes many unsourced and otherwise dubious allegations regarding Metzger and associated individuals and organizations.
White Aryan Resistance
In 1983, he founded "White Aryan Resistance" (WAR), claimed to reflect a more "revolutionary" stance, but that is incorporated as a business. The organization and associated individuals have made various controversy-generating statements. Unusually for a "far-right" organization, it was for at time allowed to have its own public-access cable television show and associated individuals were allowed to appear on numerous mainstream television shows, there making various controversy-generating statements. There have also been appearances on politically correct "documentaries" on White nationalism. Metzger participated in the 2003 documentary Louis and the Nazis, which alleged that Metzger was dubbed "the most dangerous racist in America". Currently, that there is anything more than a website using the "White Aryan Resistance" name may be unclear.
White Aryan Resistance was bankrupted as the result of a civil lawsuit centered on its alleged involvement in the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian, in Portland, Oregon. Several skinheads were convicted of killing Seraw and sent to prison. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that WAR influenced Seraw's killers by encouraging their group "East Side White Pride" to commit violence. In 1990, Tom and John Metzger were found civilly liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability, in which one can be liable for a tort committed by a subordinate or other person taking instructions. The jury returned the largest civil verdict in Oregon history at the time—$12.5 million—against Metzger and WAR. Wikipedia claims that most of WAR's profits go to paying off the judgment.
A 2003 book by a liberal Jewish writer investigating the case argued that the killing was due to a street fight rather than a premeditated, racially motivated attack that many assume it was. The involved skinheads initially denied that the killing was racially motivated. However, the prosecution consulted the SPLC and skinheads were given a plea bargain deal that included the stated admission of a racial motivation. This admission was then used by the SPLC in their lawsuit against Metzger. The star witness for the prosecution was Dave Mazzella who had contacts with both Metzger who did not live in Portland and with skinheads in Portland. However, the book argued that Mazzella had not moved to Portland to organize skinheads as alleged by the SPLC and actually had little influence among skinheads. A crucial meeting held just hours before the killing focused more on a desire for beer and girlfriends than the need to attack Blacks. The trial was mishandled because Metzger insisted on representing himself and there was no effective cross-examination of any of the SPLC's witnesses.
"Metzger chose to defend himself in court but wanted control over who heard his case. Before one pre-trial hearing, he told a court clerk he objected to being tried by the county's chief judge, Donald H. Londer, saying his name sounded Jewish. When Londer, who was Jewish, heard about the comment, he asked Rosenthal and Metzger whether they objected to being heard by Judge Ancer L. Haggerty. Rosenthal had to stifle a laugh as Metzger -- perhaps thinking Haggerty an Irishman -- agreed to be tried by an African American judge."
- SKINHEAD REVISITED, A new book reexamines Portland's neo-Nazi legacy http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-2435-skinhead-revisited.html
- 1998 story: Legacy of a hate crime: Mulugeta Seraw's death a decade ago avenged http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/11/1998_story_legacy_of_a_hate_cr.html