Non-profit

William J. Brennan Center for Justice

Website:

www.brennancenter.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3839293

DUNS Number:

96-487-3686

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2021):

Revenue: $101,280,914
Expenses: $30,929,245
Assets: $171,437,635

Type:

Left-of-center Activist Organization

Formation:

1995

Founder:

Joshua Rosenkranz

Executive Director:

Michael Waldman

Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

William J. Brennan Center for Justice (Brennan Center) is a self-described “liberal” 1 2 legal advocacy organization that focuses its policy activism on advancing left-of-center policy priorities on election-related, criminal justice, racial, and political institutional change. 3

Founded in 1995 by a group of former law clerks of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan and housed at New York University (NYU) Law School, 4 the organization actively promotes Brennan’s legal agenda. Brennan is often credited as the architect of “living Constitution” jurisprudence, which is favored by liberals. 5 6 7 The Brennan Center pushes various left-of-center and liberal activist policy positions on ethnic preferences, 8 9 elimination of the Electoral College, 10 restrictions on political campaign speech, opposition to the Trump administration, left-of-center changes to the criminal justice system, 11 and support for the far-left Black Lives Matter movement. 12

Brennan Center has received substantial funding from other liberal and left-of-center groups including liberal financier George Soros’s Open Society Institute, 13 John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation, 14 the Kohlberg Foundation, Tides Foundation, 15 Proteus Fund, 16 Joyce Foundation, 17 Schumann Media Center, Public Welfare Foundation, and JPB Foundation. 18 19

History

The William J. Brennan Center for Justice (Brennan Center) was founded in 1995 by a group of former law clerks of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan as hybrid think-tank and activist center in his honor. Housed at New York University (NYU) Law School, 20 the new group was designed to “actively promote Brennan’s legal agenda.” Brennan is often credited as the architect of “living Constitution”  jurisprudence, which is favored by liberals. 21 22 23

Justice Brennan’s clerks, many of whom “had achieved wealth and power in the legal profession,” raised $5 million as seed money to start the Brennan Center’s endowment. The left-of-center Carnegie Corporation of New York also provided an initial grant of $25,000 to help the Brennan Center get started. This support provided a “lemming kind of opportunity” response from other left-of-center benefactors. The Brennan Center’s founding director has said that it may not have been successful without that initial investment. 24 25 26

Then-New York University Law School dean John Sexton stated that he envisioned the Brennan Center as an “integrated as part of the law school.” The Brennan Center’s founders sought to combine a potentially powerful interest group with the law school in “a deeply symbiotic way” that took advantage of “a tremendous fluidity between law school faculty and students…and a cadre of powerful public interest lawyers.” 27

According to the Brennan Center’s founding executive director Joshua Rosenkranz, the Brennan Center was designed “to create a new breed of public interest Center that had one foot in the world of ideas and one foot in policy advocacy.” 28

In 2006, Brennan Center worked on a strategy to augment its litigation strength with a focus on research, public policy, and communications to win legal and policy change. 29

Leadership

Michael Waldman has been the president and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice since 2005. In 2021, Waldman was a member of the Biden administration’s Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. 30 From 1995 to 1999, Waldman was the director of speechwriting for President Bill Clinton (D). Waldman also was a special assistant to the president for policy coordination during the Clinton administration. 31

As of December 2023, the Brennan Center’s board of directors consists of 28 individuals. The Board is co-chaired by Robert A. Atkins and Patricia Bauman, who is president of the left-of-center Bauman Family Foundation. 32

Brennan Center chief operating officer John Anthony Butler joined the organization from Legal Services NYC, “the largest provider of free civil rights legal services to low-income people in the United States.” 33 Brennan Center vice president for program initiatives John F. Kowal worked at liberal donor George Soros’s Open Society Institute in several roles from 1997 to 2008 and held a position at the left-of-center Ford Foundation prior to joining the Brennan Center. 34

Positioning

Brennan Center for Justice is a “liberal” 35 36 legal advocacy organization that focuses its policy activism on advancing left-of-center policy priorities on election-related, criminal justice, racial, and political institutional change. 37 The Brennan Center has treated local left-of-center advocacy organizations as “clients,” often acting as a pro bono law firm that leaves it “up to the local players who have on-the-ground expertise to make the policy calls.” 38

Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, the Brennan Center has been accused of pursuing a “left-wing agenda” which through its efforts “exposes as a charade its assertions that it is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to the promotion of democracy and equal justice for all.” 39 The Brennan Center called for “accountability” for former President Donald Trump in December 2023 as he faced criminal indictments. 40

As of December 2023, the Brennan Center has offices in New York City and Washington, D.C., and a staff of 130 attorneys, scholars, journalists, and others. Its efforts focus on research, public policy, and communications to win left-of-center legal and policy change. 41

Brennan Center has filed federal court briefs against and subsequently to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which protected the First Amendment rights of advocacy groups to comment on election-related matters. 42 43

Left-of-Center Policy Priorities

Racial Preferences

The Brennan Center engages in defense of racial and ethnic preferences. It defended a Seattle program, which the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional, that allowed Seattle schools to institute plans to “maintain racial diversity.” Court Observers noted that Chief Justice John Roberts said the plan was not narrowly tailored because “race was the only factor” considered in the plans. 44 45

Judiciary

The Brenan Center has supported left-of-center judicial policies including implementation of staggered 18-year term limits on the Supreme Court 46 and opposing elections to select State Supreme Court Justices. 47 In October 2023, the Brennan Center hosted U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to discuss “hard-right rulings from the Supreme Court” and liberal ideas to reform the Supreme Court. 48 The organization also believes “much incarceration is unnecessary.” 49

The Brennan Center has called U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson (R-LA) an “election denier” 50 and supports liberal redistricting priorities. 51 The center also supports policies including liberal-backed Congressional representation apportionment rules, 52 automatic voter registration, voting for convicted felons, 53 and inclusion of illegal immigrants for population counts related to Congressional apportionment. 54

The Brennan Center supports amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College and supports the National Popular Vote Compact to use the national popular vote to select the President of the United States. 55 The group also supports the passage of a left-of-center Equal Rights Amendment, 56 restrictions on the Second Amendment right for individual citizens to keep and bear arms, 57 and restrictions on the First Amendment. 58 59

The center has also called to ban firearms from voting locations, 60 suggested the implementation of proportional voting districts to address gerrymandering, 61 claimed that states leaving the left-of-center Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) election consortium “caved to conspiracies, 62 offered suggestions for how to prosecute former U.S. President Donald Trump, 63 and has suggested that white racial resentment drives U.S. politics. Brennan Center helped craft the Biden administration-backed proposed “For the People Act,” which sought to implement federal control over elections. 64

Brennan Center opposes the use of the EagleAI NETwork, which would update voter rolls based on changes to the National Change of Address database, criminal justice records, and property tax data to highlight the names of potentially ineligible voters. 65 The group has claimed that “election deniers who attempted to sabotage the 2022 midterms are mobilizing to disrupt free and fair elections in 2024” as a part of its fundraising efforts and claims to protect election workers, defend minority voters, and keep polling places safe in 2024. 66

Black Lives Matter

The Brennan Center supports the far-left Black Lives Matter movement 67 and claimed that the FBI was targeting a “new generation of Black activists” that took place in violent protests following the death of George Floyd in 2020. 68 Brennan Center called the violent protests following the death of George Floyd “profound uprisings” that signaled the United States could be on the “precipice of positive change.” 69

During the violent protests following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, the Brennan Center called for liberal criminal justice reform to placate demands left-wing racial justice policy implementation, including what it calls the “punitive approach” of the criminal justice system. 70

Criminal Justice Activism

The Brennan Center opposes what it defines as “mass incarceration” and claims this practice has racial, economic, and social consequences that does not make the United States safer and claims that crime rates in America’s 30 largest cities remain near historic lows. 71

The Brennan Center supports the release of prisoners as a part of so-called criminal justice reform. 72 This includes reducing the American prison population by 20 percent in the next three years 73 and reducing the prison population by more than 500,000 people. Brennan Center wants to abolish state cash bail and end state imprisonment for what it considers “lower-level crimes.” 74 The group opposes interest, late fees, collateral consequences, and ending incarceration for non-willful failure to pay fees. 75 It also seeks to change public discourse regarding rising rates of violent crime in the United States. 76

It has submitted “amicus briefs in several cases on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees” accused of terrorism offenses. 77

Trump Administration

After the 2016 elections, the Brennan Center was identified as a center of opposition to the incoming Trump administration. Brennan Center president Michael Waldman noted “the courts are going to be a major avenue for checks and balances” against then-President-elect Donald Trump. 78 Additionally, the Center was named as part of a “Resistance Network… a loose network of lawyers and watchdogs… dug in to scrutinize issues involving the Trump administration.” 79

The Brennan Center regularly attacked President Trump. They claimed that he “has given white supremacists plenty of reasons to feel he’s copacetic with their agenda,” 80 that his attempt to study possible voting irregularities was “a tool for enabling voter suppression,” 81 that his firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey constituted “an assault on the rule of law,” 82 and that the firing of Comey “comes close to the kind of obstruction of justice that has led to impeachment proceedings for example against Richard Nixon.” 83

Brennan Center also claimed the Trump administration was “blatantly anti-Muslim” and xenophobic and used Department of Homeland Security countering violent extremism programs to target refugees, asylum seekers, and far-left Black Lives Matter activists. 84

Justice Neil Gorsuch Nomination Process

The Brennan Center was highly critical of the Trump administration’s nomination of Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court in 2017. In March 2017, the Brennan Center’s co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program wrote that “while it is difficult to read too much into Gorsuch’s fairly traditional and vague answers affirming courts’ role in serving as a check on the president and recognizing fundamental guarantees of religious freedom and due process, his work defending the worst of the George W. Bush administration’s excesses raises serious questions about whether he would stand up to President Trump.” 85

Criticisms

The Brennan Center has faced criticisms of biased and politically motivated research on multiple occasions. In 2003, Weekly Standard opinion writer David Tell revealed that then-Brennan Center Executive Director Rosenkranz requested that his staff emphasize “the pop and sizzle stuff, not the research.” Specifically, Tell claimed that “empirical evidence for which Brennan Center ‘research’ is the source, appears to be fraudulent–deliberately faked.” 86

Tell argued that Brennan Center political scientist Jonathan Krasno had “made explicit” that a project he was seeking funding for was “principally a hunt for political ammunition” and that the project would only move forward if it was impactful in its objective. In support of this, Tell pointed to Krasnos’ statement in which he said, “[t]he purpose of our acquiring the data set is not simply to advance knowledge for its own sake, but to fuel a continuous multi-faceted campaign to propel campaign reform forward” and “whether we proceed to phase two will depend on the judgment of whether the data provide a sufficiently powerful boost to the reform movement.” 87

A similar 2011 Brennan Center report was critiqued by conservative Hans von Spakovsky as “a myth-driven diatribe” built on “dubious” claims, “faulty assumption[s]” and facts lacking substantiating evidence. Moreover, this critique noted that the report in parts demonstrated the Brennan Center’s “bias,” and overall served as a “successful propaganda effort.” 88

Funding

The Brennan Center is funded by individual contributions and grants. 89 90 In 2021, the Brennan Center reported revenue of $45,056,482 and expenses of $33,320,745. The organization reported revenue of $101,280,914 and expenses of $30,929,245 in 2020. 91

Liberal donor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (formerly Open Society Institute) has been one of Brennan Center’s larger funders, 92 giving the Center $7,466,000 from 2000 to 2010. It also gave NYU $2,819,540 during this same time, for a total of $10,285,540. 93 The Brennan Center has been named a Democracy Alliance approved entity, aligning it with the liberal donor network associated with several major left-of-center funders. 94

Philanthropy databases show that the Brennan Center is also funded by an array of left-wing foundations. From 2002 to 2011, the Brennan Center received at least $2,753,242 from the Tides Foundation and at least $1,017,500 from the JEHT Foundation. From 1998 to 2002, when future President Barack Obama (D) was on its board, the Joyce Foundation gave the Brennan Center $1,015,000. 95

The Brennan Center is also reportedly supported by major New York City law firms. Reports have identified that law firms such as Arnold and Porter and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door have provided pro bono legal assistance to the Brennan Center. 96

Brennan Center for Justice has received $2,710,000 from the left-of-center John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation since 2012, including a $525,000 grant in 2023 to support public understanding of the concept of mass incarceration. 97

From 2016 to 2021, the Brennan Center for Justice received large donations from several left-of-center organizations. These grants included $300,000 from the Lumina Foundation in 2021, 98 $741,500 from the New Venture Fund in 2019 and 2020, 99 100 at least $3,800,000 from the Ford Foundation in 2018, 101 $1,700,000 from the Lakeshore Foundation in 2017, 102 $213,157 from the Proteus Fund in 2017, 103 $500,000 from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in 2016, 104 and $475,000 from the Tow Foundation in 2016. 105 Brennan Center has received other grants from the Park Foundation, 106 the Rockefeller Family Fund, 107 the Democracy Fund, 108 and the JPB Foundation. 109

References

  1. Montopoli, Brian. “2012 election: Disenfranchised voters, hacked machines?” CBS News. October 3, 2011. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20160825230814/https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2012-election-disenfranchised-voters-hacked-machines/.
  2. Shelton, Shania. “At least 11 states have enacted restrictive voting laws this year, new report finds.” CNN Politics. June 14, 2023. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20230818182744/https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/14/politics/restrictive-voting-laws-brennan-report/index.html.
  3. “Our Issues.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues.
  4. “Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.” Brennan Center Facebook Page. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.facebook.com/BrennanCenter/.
  5. Katz, Lee Michael. “Brennan Center for Justice.” MacArthur Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.macfound.org/grantee/brennan-center-for-justice-44759/.
  6. Katz, Lee Michael. “The Brennan Center for Justice.” Carnegie Results. Summer 2008. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https:/www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  7. Kroll, Alexander J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Breanna Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  8. “Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.” Brennan Center for Justice. June 28, 2007. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/court-cases/parents-involved-community-schools-v-seattle-school-district-no-1.
  9. Lehrer, Jim. “Court Strikes Down Racial Criteria in School Diversity Plans.” PBS News. June 28, 2007. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/court-strikes-down-racial-criteria-in-school-diversity-plans.
  10. “Electoral College Reform.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/advance-constitutional-change/electoral-college-reform.
  11. “End Mass Incarceration.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration.
  12. “BLM versus #BLM.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/media/7809/download.
  13. “John F. Kowal.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/experts/john-f-kowal.
  14. “Brennan Center for Justice.” MacArthur Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.macfound.org/grantee/brennan-center-for-justice-44759/.
  15. Kroll, Alex J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  16. “Proteus Fund.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/43243004/201803189349304195/full.
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  18. Author’s analysis of data compiled by FoundationSearch.com, a project of Metasoft Systems, from tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted August 1, 2017.
  19. Roth, Zachary. “Making Participatory Budgeting Work: Experiences on the Front Lines.” Brennan Center for Justice. August 23, 2022. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/making-participatory-budgeting-work-experiences-front-lines.
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  23. Kroll, Alexander J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Breanna Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  24. “A Powerhouse for Advocacy: At NYU Law, the Brennan Center for Justice, founded in honor of a Supreme Court legend, uses a multipronged approach to pursue social justice.” NYU Law School. May 18, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017. http://www.law.nyu.edu/news/brennan-center-for-justice-public-policy-advocacy-voting-rights-campaign-finance-criminal-justice-reform.
  25. Katz, Lee Michael. “The Brennan Center for Justice A Bipartisan Champion of Democracy Comes of Age.” Carnegie Results Newsletter. Summer 2008. Archived March 20, 2014. Accessed July 31, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https://www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  26. Kroll, Alex J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014, Accessed July 31, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  27. “The Brennan Center for Justice.” Carnegie Results. Summer 2008. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https:/www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  28. Katz, Lee Michael. “The Brennan Center for Justice.” Carnegie Results. Summer 2008. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https:/www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  29. “History.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/about/history#:~:text=The%20Brennan%20Center%20for%20Justice%20at%20NYU%20School%20of%20Law,for%20individual%20rights%20and%20liberties.
  30. “Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.” The White House. April 9, 2021. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/pcscotus/.
  31. “Michael Waldman.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/experts/michael-waldman.
  32. “Board of Directors.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/about/board-directors.
  33. “John Anthony Butler.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/about/staff/john-anthony-butler.
  34. “John F. Kowal.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/experts/john-f-kowal.
  35. Montopoli, Brian. “2012 election: Disenfranchised voters, hacked machines?” CBS News. October 3, 2011. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20160825230814/https://www.cbsnews.com/news/2012-election-disenfranchised-voters-hacked-machines/.
  36. Shelton, Shania. “At least 11 states have enacted restrictive voting laws this year, new report finds.” CNN Politics. June 14, 2023. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20230818182744/https://www.cnn.com/2023/06/14/politics/restrictive-voting-laws-brennan-report/index.html.
  37. “Our Issues.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues.
  38. Katz, Lee Michael. “The Brennan Center for Justice A Bipartisan Champion of Democracy Comes of Age.” Carnegie Results Newsletter. Summer 2008. Archived March 20, 2014. Accessed July 31, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https://www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  39. Kroll, Alex J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014, Accessed July 31, 2017. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  40. Waldman, Michael. “Accountability for Trump.” Brennan Center for Justice. December 12, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/accountability-trump.
  41. “History.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/about/history#:~:text=The%20Brennan%20Center%20for%20Justice%20at%20NYU%20School%20of%20Law,for%20individual%20rights%20and%20liberties.
  42. “Brief of the Brennan Center For Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law As Amicus Curiae In Support of Appellee.” McCutcheon v. F.E.C. No. 12-536. Undated. Copy Available on ScotusBlog. Uploaded May 12, 2017 . Accessed Aug. 6, 2017. http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/12-536_appellee_amcu_bcj-nyu.authcheckdam.pdf.
  43. “Supplemental Brief Of The Center For Independent Media, Calitics.Com, Eyebeam, Zack Exley, Laura Mcgann, And The Brennan Center For Justice At Nyu School Of Law As Amici Curiae In Support Of Appellee.” Citizens United v. F.E.C. No. 08-205. July 31, 2009. Accessed Aug. 6, 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/legacy/Democracy/Center%20for%20Independent%20Media.pdf.
  44. “Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.” Brennan Center for Justice. June 28, 2007. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/court-cases/parents-involved-community-schools-v-seattle-school-district-no-1.
  45. Lehrer, Jim. “Court Strikes Down Racial Criteria in School Diversity Plans.” PBS News. June 28, 2007. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/court-strikes-down-racial-criteria-in-school-diversity-plans.
  46. Alicia Bannon and Michael Milov-Cordoba. “Supreme Court Term Limits.” Brennan Center for Justice. June 20, 2023. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/supreme-court-term-limits.
  47. Keith, Douglas. “Elections Are the Wrong Way to Pick State Supreme Court Justices.” Brennan Center for Justice. October 11, 2023. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/elections-are-wrong-way-pick-state-supreme-court-justices.
  48.  “Senator Sheldon Whitehouse with Brennan Center for Justice.” The New Press. Ocrober 13, 2023. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://thenewpress.com/events/senator-sheldon-whitehouse-with-brennan-center-for-justice.
  49. Hernandez D. Stroud, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, and Ram Subramanian. “A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Incarceration.” Brennan Center for Justice. March 14, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/proposal-reduce-unnecessary-incarceration.
  50. Waldman, Michael. “Mike Johnson Is Now the Most Powerful Election Denier in Washington.” Brennan Center for Justice. October 31, 2023. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/mike-johnson-now-most-powerful-election-denier-washington.
  51. “Redistricting.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/gerrymandering-fair-representation/redistricting.
  52. Kroll, Alexander J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  53. “Ensure Every American Can Vote.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 26, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/ensure-every-american-can-vote.
  54. “Brennan Center Statement on Trump’s Undocumented Immigrants Exclusion.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 23, 2020. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/brennan-center-statement-trumps-undocumented-immigrants-exclusion.
  55. “Electoral College Reform.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/advance-constitutional-change/electoral-college-reform.
  56. “Equal rights Amendment.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/advance-constitutional-change/equal-rights-amendment.
  57. “Second Amendment.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/advance-constitutional-change/second-amendment.
  58. “First Amendment.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/advance-constitutional-change/first-amendment.
  59. “Robyn Sanders and Ashleigh Maciolek. “The Government Shouldn’t Be Barred from Countering False Information.” Brennan Center. August 8, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/government-shouldnt-be-barred-countering-false-information.
  60. Waldman, Michael. “Ban Guns at Voting Sites.” Brennan Center for Justice. September 19, 2023.  Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/ban-guns-voting-sites.
  61. Michael Li and Peter Miller. “Proportional Representation Can Reduce the Impact of Gerrymandering.” Brennan Center for Justice. September 18, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/proportional-representation-can-reduce-impact-gerrymandering.
  62. Clapman, Alice. “States Cave to Conspiracy Theories and Leave Voter Data Cooperative, ERIC.” Brennan Center for Justice. August 10, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/states-cave-conspiracy-theories-and-leave-voter-data-cooperative-eric.
  63. Waldman, Michael. “How to Prosecute Trump.” Brennan Center for Justice. July 25, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/how-prosecute-trump.
  64. Cohen, Rachel M. “At a Pivotal Moment, Democrats Failed to Modernize Elections.” The Intercept. April 1, 2022. Accessed Via Web Archive December 17, 2023. https://archive.ph/dJmEN.
  65. Alice Clapman and Andrew Garber. “A New Antidemocracy Tool.” Brennan Center for Justice. September 5, 2023. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/new-antidemocracy-tool.
  66. “Donate.” Breannan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://secure.brennancenter.org/secure/fy24-gtl?amount=25&recurring=0.
  67.  “BLM versus #BLM.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/media/7809/download.
  68. German, Michael. “The FBI Targets a New Generation of Black Activists.” Brennan Center for Justice. June 26, 2020. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/fbi-targets-new-generation-black-activists.
  69. Ram Subramanian and Liely Arzy. “State Policing Reforms Since Geore Floyd’s Murder.” Brennan Center for Justice. May 21, 2021. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/state-policing-reforms-george-floyds-murder.
  70. Ram Subarmanian, Lauren Brooke-Isen, et. al. “A Federal Agenda for Criminal Justice Reform.” Brennan Center for Justice. December 9, 2020. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/federal-agenda-criminal-justice-reform?utm_medium=PANTHEON_STRIPPED&utm_source=PANTHEON_STRIPPED.
  71. “End Mass Incarceration.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration.
  72. “Prison and Jail Reform.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/prison-and-jail-reform.
  73. “Changing Incentives.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration/changing-incentives.
  74. “Cutting Jail & Prison Populations.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration/cutting-jail-prison-populations.
  75. “Fees & Fines.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration/changing-incentives/fees-fines.
  76.  “Accurate Crime Data.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/end-mass-incarceration/accurate-crime-data.
  77. Kroll, Alexander J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  78. Kroll, Alexander J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  79. Overby, Peter. “In Trump’s First 100 Days, A Resistance Network Digs In.” NPR. Apr. 25, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017. http://www.npr.org/2017/04/25/524393127/in-trumps-first-100-days-a-resistance-network-digs-in
  80. German, Michael. “Trump and the Extreme Right.” Brennan Center For Justice. Feb. 14, 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/trump-extremist.
  81. “Trump’s “Voter Fraud” Commission.” Brennan Center For Justice. Undated. Accessed July 31, 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/trump-fraud-commission
  82. Press Release. “Brennan Center Responds to Trump’s Firing of James Comey.” Brennan Center For Justice. May 9, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017. https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/brennan-center-responds-trumps-firing-james-comey.
  83. Yang, John. “Did President Trump’s reported actions obstruct justice?” PBS News Hour. May 17, 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/president-trumps-reported-actions-obstruct-justice/.
  84. “Countering Violent Extremism.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/issues/protect-liberty-security/government-targeting-minority-communities/countering-violent.
  85. Patel, Faiza. “America Should Question Neil Gorsuch’s Willingness to Stand Up To Trump’s Travel Ban.” Fortune. March 23, 2017. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://fortune.com/2017/03/23/neil-gorsuch-confirmation-hearing/.
  86.  Tell, David. “An Appearance of Corruption: The bogus research undergirding campaign finance reform.” The Weekly Standard. May 26, 2003. Volume 008, Issue 36. Archived Sep. 15, 2011. Accessed Aug. 4, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20110915203729/https://www.citizen.org/congress/article_redirect.cfm?ID=9776.
  87. Tell, David. “An Appearance of Corruption: The bogus research undergirding campaign finance reform.” The Weekly Standard. May 26, 2003. Volume 008, Issue 36. Archived Sep. 15, 2011. Accessed Aug. 4, 2017. https://web.archive.org/web/20110915203729/https://www.citizen.org/congress/article_redirect.cfm?ID=9776.
  88. Von Spakovsky, Hans A. “New Myths on Voter ID.” National Review. Oct. 13, 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20160722210446/https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/279991/new-myths-voter-id-hans-von-spakovsky/.
  89. “Donate.” Brennan Center for Justice. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://secure.brennancenter.org/secure/fy24-gtl?amount=25&recurring=0.
  90. “A Powerhouse for Advocacy.” New York University Law. May 18, 2017. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.law.nyu.edu/news/Brennan-Center-for-Justice-public-policy-advocacy-voting-rights-campaign-finance-criminal-justice-reform.
  91.  “William J. Brennan Center for Justice Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2021. Part I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/133839293/202300869349301015/full.
  92.  Kroll, Alex J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  93. Somberg, Iris. “Soros-Backed Voting Study Promoted By Soros-Funded Media.” Newsbusters. Oct. 6, 2011. Accessed July 31, 2017. https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/iris-somberg/2011/10/06/soros-backed-voting-study-promoted-soros-funded-media.
  94. Capital Research Center Staff. “The “Vast Left-wing Conspiracy”: George Soros’s Democracy Alliance remains a potent force in the 2014 elections.” Capital Research Center. Oct. 6, 2014. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-vast-left-wing-conspiracy-george-soross-democracy-alliance-remains-a-potent-force-in-the-2014-elections/.
  95. Kroll, Alex J. “Dismantling Self-Government: The Brennan Center’s Election Fraud Offensive.” Capital Research Center. April 1, 2014. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://capitalresearch.org/article/dismantling-self-government-the-brennan-centers-election-fraud-offensive/.
  96. Katz, Lee Michael. “The Brennan Center for Justice.” Carnegie Results. Summer 2008. Accessed via Web Archive December 16, 2023. https://web.archive.org/web/20140320161508/https:/www.carnegie.org/fileadmin/Media/Publications/PDF/carnegie_results_sum08.pdf/.
  97. “Brennan Center for Justice.” MacArthur Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.macfound.org/grantee/brennan-center-for-justice-44759/.
  98. “Brennan Center for Justice.” Lumina Foundation. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.luminafoundation.org/grant/2103-1113942/.
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  103. “Proteus Fund.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/43243004/201803189349304195/full.
  104. “Brennan Center for Justice.” William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. July 11, 2016. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://hewlett.org/grants/brennan-center-for-justice-for-general-operating-support-4/.
  105. “Brennan Center for Justice.” The Tow Foundation .Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.towfoundation.org/grantee/brennan-center-for-justice/.
  106. “Brennan Center for Justice.” Park Foundation Grants Awarded. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://www.parkfoundation.org/grantees/brennan-center-for-justice/.
  107. “Rockefeller Family Fund Inc.” Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. (Form 990). 2021. Schedule I. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/136257658/202223199349325777/full.
  108. “William J. Brennan, Jr. Center for Justice, Inc.” Democracy Fund. Accessed December 16, 2023. https://democracyfund.org/grant/william-j-brennan-jr-center-for-justice-inc-3/.
  109. Roth, Zachary. “Making Participatory Budgeting Work: Experiences on the Front Lines.” Brennan Center for Justice. August 23, 2022. Accessed December 17, 2023. https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/making-participatory-budgeting-work-experiences-front-lines.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Scott Wallace
    Board Member
  2. Patricia Bauman
    Board Co-Chair
  3. K. Sabeel Rahman
    Former Staffer

Donor Organizations

  1. Bauman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  2. Baytree Fund (Non-profit)
  3. Bernard and Anne Spitzer Charitable Trust (Non-profit)
  4. Brightwater Fund (Non-profit)
  5. Carnegie Corporation of New York (Non-profit)
  6. Cavali Foundation (Non-profit)
  7. Craig Newmark Foundation (Non-profit)
  8. Craigslist Charitable Fund (Non-profit)
  9. CrossCurrents Foundation (Non-profit)
  10. Democracy Alliance (DA) (Other Group)
  11. Democracy Fund (Non-profit)
  12. Educational Foundation of America (Non-profit)
  13. Flora Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  14. Fund for a Safer Future (Non-profit)
  15. J. M. Kaplan Fund (Non-profit)
  16. Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros Foundation (Non-profit)
  17. John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Non-profit)
  18. John L. Neu Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  19. Joyce Foundation (Non-profit)
  20. JPB Foundation (Non-profit)
  21. Klarman Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  22. Kohlberg Foundation (Non-profit)
  23. Laura and John Arnold Foundation (Non-profit)
  24. Leaves of Grass Fund (Non-profit)
  25. Lebowitz-Aberly Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  26. Leland Fikes Foundation (Non-profit)
  27. Leonard & Sophie Davis Fund (Non-profit)
  28. Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund (Non-profit)
  29. Mai Family Foundation (Non-profit)
  30. Marguerite Casey Foundation (Non-profit)
  31. Mariposa Foundation (Non-profit)
  32. Marty & Dorothy Silverman Foundation (Non-profit)
  33. NEO Philanthropy (Non-profit)
  34. New Venture Fund (NVF) (Non-profit)
  35. Open Society Foundations (Open Society Institute) (Non-profit)
  36. Overbrook Foundation (Non-profit)
  37. Piper Fund (Non-profit)
  38. Proteus Fund (Non-profit)
  39. RISE Together Fund (Non-profit)
  40. Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Non-profit)
  41. San Francisco Foundation (Non-profit)
  42. Schooner Foundation (Non-profit)
  43. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) (Labor Union)
  44. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) (Non-profit)
  45. Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation (Non-profit)
  46. Tides Foundation (Non-profit)
  47. Tow Foundation (Non-profit)
  48. Vital Projects Fund (Non-profit)
  49. Warsh Mott Legacy (Non-profit)
  50. William B. Wiener Jr. Foundation (Non-profit)
  51. Woodtiger Fund (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 1995

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Jun Form 990 $101,280,914 $30,929,245 $171,437,635 $5,081,455 N $99,168,252 $0 $757,564 $2,841,924
    2020 Jun Form 990 $84,509,232 $25,767,516 $96,025,378 $5,459,997 N $84,257,510 $0 $284,234 $2,926,046 PDF
    2019 Jun Form 990 $26,205,411 $22,145,091 $36,373,706 $4,783,722 Y $26,052,956 $0 $161,356 $2,592,698 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $23,747,781 $17,732,433 $32,322,637 $5,148,591 Y $23,517,398 $0 $84,072 $1,941,376 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $24,092,782 $14,930,529 $24,970,740 $3,769,131 N $24,064,835 $0 $28,995 $2,012,152 PDF
    2016 Jun Form 990 $14,249,671 $13,540,703 $12,470,883 $858,634 N $14,401,649 $0 $2,765 $1,821,347 PDF
    2015 Jun Form 990 $15,248,740 $12,425,534 $11,671,487 $587,754 N $15,317,113 $0 $0 $1,560,407 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $8,861,684 $10,983,824 $8,970,817 $588,850 N $8,769,280 $0 $0 $1,473,985 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $9,471,825 $10,383,675 $10,881,300 $477,314 N $9,507,981 $0 $21,392 $604,827 PDF
    2012 Jun Form 990 $10,182,541 $7,639,970 $11,449,991 $442,951 N $10,241,670 $0 $9,076 $533,077 PDF
    2011 Jun Form 990 $6,800,007 $6,603,880 $8,939,169 $319,288 N $6,744,828 $0 $34,282 $542,113 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    William J. Brennan Center for Justice

    120 Broadway No. 1750
    NEW YORK, NY 10271-0002