True North Research



For-Profit Research Firm



Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief:

Lisa Graves

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True North Research is a for-profit research firm founded by left-of-center activist Lisa Graves in 2007. The firm conducts political and policy research aimed at exposing the influence of conservative and free market leaning businessmen and businesses. 1

Activities and Research

Trute North Research produces investigations of right-of-center individuals, corporations, and organizations with a focus on six research areas: anti-corruption for politicians and judges; racial justice, gender equality and economic opportunity; corporate accountability; climate change, environmental protection, and sustainable agriculture; anti-privatization, particularly in education; and gun control and national security. 2

True North Research has produced several exposés on Leonard Leo, the co-chairman of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Studies, condemning his activities as part of a right-wing “Dark Money Network.” 3 On social media, True North Research regularly attacks the financial contributions of Leo as well as contributions made by organizations associated with Leo to center-right groups like the Susan B. Anthony List 4 and Parents Defending Education. 5

True North Research has also produced articles critical of Jeff Yass, an American investor, co-founder of the Susquehanna International Group, and vice chairman of the libertarian-aligned think tank Cato Institute; 6 Rob Arkley, a major financial contributor to the Federalist Society  and seed funder of Judicial Crisis Network; 7 and Richard Uihlein, a major Republican donor. 8

Additionally, True North Research has produced multiple reports and publications on alleged corruption within the Supreme Court, including publishing a release calling for a Senate investigation and House impeachment inquiry against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for his acceptance of gifts from billionaire Harlan Crow. 9 Relatedly, True North Research criticized Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts for failing to “protect the integrity of the Supreme Court” in light of the ethics allegations against Justice Thomas. 10

True North Research also accused then-President Donald Trump of inciting a “violent insurrection” at the Capitol during his speech on January 6, 2021, 11 despite President Trump calling for his supporters to march to the Capitol “peacefully and patriotically.” 12 In a report issued two years after the Capitol riot, True North Research argued that Trump’s speech on the day of the riot at the Capitol set out a blueprint that the Republican Party is using to “undermine free and fair elections,” including limiting mail-in ballots, cleaning up the voter rolls, and requiring IDs to vote. 13


True North Research is one of several left-leaning research organizations owned or directed by Graves, who has a background in investigating conservative individuals and institutions. Her other organizations include and KochDocs, both of which focus heavily on tracing the financial contributions of libertarian businessman and philanthropist Charles Koch and his network of right-leaning donors. She also previously served as executive director at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a Wisconsin-based left-wing media, opposition research, and agitation group. 14

Truth North Research also allies with ALEC Exposed, a group co-led by Graves since 2011. 15 ALEC Exposed is a project of the left-wing opposition research group Center for Media and Democracy that seeks to undermine the advocacy agenda of the center-right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). 16


True North Research is led by its founder, Lisa Graves, a left-of-center activist who previously worked as the executive director at the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). 17 Before CMD, Graves worked in the Clinton administration’s Justice Department where she helped President Bill Clinton vet judicial nominees 18 and craft gun control policies. 19

Graves has been criticized for using the same “dark money” tactics that her organizations criticize conservative groups for using. She serves on the advisory board of the controversial anti-academic freedom organization UnKoch My Campus, which has received funding through the same pass-through funding vehicles that Graves denounces on the right. 20 At CMD, following an investigation of the organization’s finances by, Graves claimed that up to 30 percent of CMD’s budget was funded by a single anonymous donor whose identity was unknown to her. 21

In the early 2000s, Graves worked for then-U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 22 where she aided Democratic leadership to defeat the judicial nominees of then-President George W. Bush. 23 Additionally, Graves previously worked at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a left-leaning activism organization, as well as the Center for National Security Studies. Graves is the co-founder of Documented, an investigative journalism group that targets right-of-center groups and corporations, particularly regarding environmental policy matters. 24

The senior researcher at Truth North Research is Evan Vorpahl, a former research fellow for the Center for Media and Democracy as well as Documented. 25


  1. “Mission.” True North Research. Accessed August 1, 2019.
  2. “Expertise.” True North Research. Accessed December 14, 2023,
  3. “Graves, Lisa and Alyssa Bowen. “Truthout: Tax Docs Linke Right-Wing ‘Parents Group to Leonard Leo’s Dark Money Network.” True North Research. February 9, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  4. Tweet by @itstruenorth. Twitter. December 14, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  5. Tweet by @itstruenorth. Twitter. December 8, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  6. Graves, Lisa, Evan Vorpahl and Caitlin Mahoney. “A Backgrounder on Jeff Yass, the Right-Wing Billionaire Trying to Capture the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.” True North Research. October 24, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  7. Michaelson, Jay. “The Secrets of Leonard Leo, the Man Behind Trump’s Supreme Court Picks.” Daily Beast. July 24, 2018. Accessed January 20, 2021.
  8. Graves, Lisa and Evan Vorpahl. “Another Anti-Choice Front Group Fueled by Dick Uihlein Jumps into Race.” True North Research. March 10, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  9. “True North Research Calls for Senate Investigation, House Impeachment, and Court Reform Base don Secret Luxury Gifts Taken by Justice Clarence Thomas.” True North Research. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  10. Vorpahl, Evan. “Chief Justice John Roberts Has Failed to Protect the Integrity of the Supreme Court.” May 2, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  11. Vorpahl, Evan and Lisa Graves. “Trump’s Anti-Democracy Blueprint Continues on Two Years After the Capitol Insurrection.” True North Research. January 6, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  12. Naylor, Brian. “Read Trump’s Jan. 6 Speech, A Key Part of Impeachment Trial.” NPR. February 10, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  13. Vorpahl, Evan and Lisa Graves. “Trump’s Anti-Democracy Blueprint Continues on Two Years After the Capitol Insurrection.” True North Research. January 6, 2023. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  14. Lisa Graves LinkedIn Profile. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  15. “Team.” True North Research. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  16. Strassel, Kimberley. The Intimidation Game: How the left is silencing free speech. New York: Twelve, 2017. p. 270.
  17. Center for Media and Democracy. “Our Team.” EXPOSEDbyCMD. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  18. Lisa Graves LinkedIn Profile. Website. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  19. Graves, Lisa. “GUN VIOLENCE REDUCTION: National Integrated Firearms Violence Reduction Strategy.” U.S. Department of Justice. Undated. Archived Aug 4, 2009. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  20. Ravold, Christine. “Unclear Funding for UnKoch: Masking Funders Through Essential Information.” Accessed August 12, 2019.
  21. Craver, Jack. “Progressive watchdog group gets two big anonymous donations.” The Capital Times. Dec 7, 2013. Accessed on August 12, 2019.
  22. Lisa Graves LinkedIn Profile. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  23. “Bush to Renominate Blocked Judges.” Associated Press. December 24, 2004. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  24. “Lisa Graves.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 14, 2023.
  25. “Evan V.” LinkedIn. Accessed December 14, 2023.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lisa Graves
    President, Founder
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