Lisa Graves is the founder and Executive Director of True North Research, a national investigative watchdog group that works with journalists and other researchers to shine a bright light on the dark money fueling regressive agendas targeting vital institutions in our republic, such as our courts and public schools.
Graves is one of the nation’s foremost experts in exposing how special interests distort public policy and try to thwart the public’s interest in a thriving and inclusive democracy and to impede measures to protect our environment and mitigate climate change.
She served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Policy Development/Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice under Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft, Chief Counsel for Nominations for Senator Patrick Leahy on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts with oversight of the Financial Disclosure Office and more, and as an adjunct law professor at George Washington University Law School. She also worked as the Senior Legislative Strategist for the ACLU on national security and civil liberties, and held other posts.
She has been asked to testify as an expert before several committees in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, and she has helped shape the national debate about the culture of corruption on the U.S. Supreme Court, GOP efforts to undermine the U.S. Postal Service, and the role of right-wing operatives and funders like Leonard Leo, Barre Seid, Harlan Crow, Charles Koch, Dick Uihlein, Rob Arkley, and their front groups to advance a regressive agenda to restrict people’s freedoms and government oversight of corporations. She also launched the award-winning ALECexposed.org investigation, KochDocs, and other projects.
Her investigations have been featured in Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary the “13th,” in Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously,” in a PBS documentary narrated by Bill Moyers and entitled “The United States of ALEC,” and other films. Her research has been cited in critically acclaimed books including Dark Money by Jane Mayer, Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean, Give Us the Ballot by Ari Berman, Corporate Citizen by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, The Fall of Wisconsin by Dan Kaufman, and several others. Her work is featured in several podcasts, including U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s “Making the Case,” Crooked Media and Rebecca Nagle’s “This Land,” Dahlia Lithwick’s “Amicus,” Vicky Ward’s new series on the Federalist Society called “Pipeline to Power,” ProPublica‘s “We Don’t Talk about Leo,” Pod Save America, Amy Westervelt’s “Drilled,” and more.
Her op-eds have been published by the New York Times, the Guardian, TIME, Slate, and The Hill, and she has written for True North Research, PRWatch, Common Dreams, TruthOut, Ms., Washington Spectator, DeSmog, the Nation, In These Times, the Progressive, HuffPo, and Yes!. Her analysis has been cited in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Politico, ProPublica, Salon, the Trace, Grist, Bloomberg, Reuters, the Associated Press, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, The Intercept, Vice, ESPN, Business Week, Roll Call, CQ, Newsday, the National Journal, Legal Times, Wired, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, USA Today, Rewire News, the Toronto Star, Agence France-Presse, and more.
She has been a frequent guest on MSNBC and has also appeared on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNBC, the BBC, the CBC, Sky News, the Laura Flanders Show, Democracy NOW!, and C-Span. She has also been a featured guest on major radio programs, including NPR’s Fresh Air, Morning Edition, and Marketplace Report, and on Deutschlandfunk, FAIR, Background Briefing with Ian Masters, the Nicole Sanders Show, Duncan Campbell’s Connections, the Thom Hartmann Show, BradBlog, the Rick Smith Show, the Zero Hour with R.J. Eskow, and more.
From 2009-2017, she led the Center for Media and Democracy, and she is the President of its Board of Directors. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Park Foundation and on the Board of Directors of the Public Concern Foundation and U.S. Right to Know. She is also on the Legal Advisory Board of Free Speech for People. She is also an artist, and provides volunteer support to other non-profits, including graphic design work.
Lisa earned a J.D., cum laude, from Cornell Law School where she was a Managing Editor of the Cornell Law Review, and a B.S., with highest honors, in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she was an award-winning college debater.
Her more detailed biography is available here.