True North Research

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 While it does not disclose its clients, True North Research states on its website that it works with organizations only “if our goals are aligned.” 2


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); the group lists her as a senior research fellow. 3

Graves has been criticized for using “dark money” tactics in her own organizations despite criticizing their use by conservative groups. She serves on the advisory board of the radical anti-academic freedom organization UnKoch My Campus, which has received funding through the same pass-through funding vehicles that Graves denounces on the right. 4 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. The journalist who conducted the investigation later said, “Why is it bad when others [take anonymous money] but totally okay when Lisa Graves does it?”5


  1. “Mission.” True North Research. Accessed August 1, 2019.
  2. “Take Action.” True North Research. Accessed August 1, 2019.
  3. Lisa Graves LinkedIn Profile. Website. Updated 2019. Accessed August 12, 2019.
  4. Ravold, Christine. “Unclear Funding for UnKoch: Masking Funders Through Essential Information.” Accessed August 12, 2019.
  5. Craver, Jack. “Progressive watchdog group gets two big anonymous donations.” The Capital Times. Dec 7, 2013. Accessed on August 12, 2019.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Lisa Graves
    President, Founder
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