Local Politics

North Carolina Justice Center

The North Carolina Justice Center and its affiliated brands make up the best known network of liberal-leaning groups in the state. The group insists that it is nonpartisan, but its policy prescriptions are regularly at odds with policies pursued by Republican leaders in the General Assembly.

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N.C. Justice Center Logo
As they describe themselves: The North Carolina Justice Center is the state’s preeminent voice for economic, social and political justice. As a leading progressive research and advocacy organization, our mission is to eliminate poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security. More here.
On the web: www.ncjustice.org
Affiliates and brands: The North Carolina Justice Center is a sprawling organization with many different affiliates and brands. It's N.C. Policy Watch arm, for example, both produces journalism and provides commentary to other media sources. The N.C. Budget and Tax Center produces research and analysis of economic issues. It's Health Access Coalition focuses on health care policy, while other projects work on consumer protection and rights for immigrant workers. 
Network*: Z. Smith Reynolds
Funding: The N.C. Justice Center reported raising $5.8 million in 2011, according to its IRS form 990 from that year. An audit filed with the N.C. Secretary of State's office shows $2.25 million of that comes from attorney's fees, while another $3.3 million came from grants to the group. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation reports giving $225,000 in grants toward the Justice Center's Eastern Carolina Immigrant Rights Project in 2011. The A. J. Fletcher Foundation reported giving $308,000 to the Justice Center in 2011. 
Lobbyist: The N.C. Justice Center has registered 12 members of its staff and affiliates as lobbyists for the 2013 session. 
Media Profile: Between its various brands and affiliates, the N.C. Justice Center is most likely the best known liberal-leaning organization in the state. Its experts were quoted dozens of time in February of 2013 as the legislature began work in earnest. Personalities from the N.C. Policy Watch arm are regular guests on pubic affairs shows and columns and research by the Justice Center regularly find their way into newspapers across the state. 

A spokesman for the group insists that it is a nonpartisan organization focused on research and legal work. However, its policy prescriptions are regularly at odds with GOP lawmakers and regularly reported as "liberal" in traditional media outlets. 


* Many of the public policy think tanks and advocacy groups active in North Carolina fall into one of two camps: A liberal circuit with ties to the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and a conservative circuit with ties to the John William Pope Foundation.




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