The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization seeking to end the death penalty in the United States and around the world. Since its inception in 1976, the NCADP has been closely associated with the left-of-center American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The NCADP tries to use education and grassroots strategies to increase opposition to the death penalty with the aim of ending capital punishment altogether.
In 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty, as then implemented, violated the 8th and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. Just four years later on July 2nd, 1976, the Supreme Court ruled in Gregg v. Georgia that changes in state law made the death penalty’s implementation permissible under the 8th Amendment. On July 8th, 1976, Deborah Leavy, head of the ACLU’s “Death Penalty Project,” held a meeting at which organizations opposed to the death penalty met to discuss a way forward. The result of the meeting was the founding of the NCADP.
Connection to ACLU and Other Left-Wing Organizations
Since 1976, the NCADP has had close ties to the ACLU. After its founding, the first office of the NCADP was in the Capital Punishment Project office of the ACLU. Diann Rust-Tierney, the current Executive Director and Vice Chair of the NCADP, previously served as the Director of the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. Today, the national ACLU and 49 state chapters of the ACLU are considered affiliates of the NCADP. Additionally, left-of-center groups such as Amnesty International, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center are all associated with the NCADP.
NCADP had a partnership with the cosmetics company Lush. The company is known for its left-wing stances and has worked with LGBT-interest, environmentalist, and animal liberation groups. NCADP’s partnership with Lush had two components: an online petition that could be signed with signatures delivered to members of Congress by NCADP and a “31 States Bath Bomb” fundraiser, the profits from which would be donated to organizations opposed to the death penalty.
A notable alumnus of the NCADP is Ben Jealous, former National President and CEO of the NAACP and 2018 Democratic candidate for Governor of Maryland. Jealous worked for the NCADP as a program coordinator.’
In its 2017 IRS 990 public disclosure form NCADP showed revenues of $375,482. Contributions, gifts, and grants consisted of $318,374 of the total revenue. Just 6 individual donors accounted for $187,500 of those contributions or approximately 58% of all money from this revenue stream. The largest expenses in 2017 were grassroots awareness programs aimed at souring public opinion toward the death penalty and partner outreach programs to support national public policy reform campaigns.