Political Research Associates

"The Public Eye" redirects here. For other uses, see The Public Eye (disambiguation).
Political Research Associates
Founded 1981, changed name to PRA in 1987
Founder Dr. Jean V. Hardisty
Type non-profit organization
Focus Studying the U.S. political right
Area served
Key people
Chip Berlet, Jean Hardisty Tarso Luís Ramos, Pam Chamberlain, Surina Khan

Political Research Associates (PRA) (formerly Midwest Research, Chicago, 1981–1987), named and known on the Web as PoliticalResearch.org, is a non-profit research group located in Somerville, Massachusetts.


PRA studies the U.S. political right wing, as well as white supremacists, and paramilitary organizations. It has a full-time staff of six. The Executive Director is Tarso Luis Ramos. Dr. Jean V. Hardisty was the founder and director from 1981 to 2004. Chip Berlet was the group's senior analyst from 1981-2011. Other staff members include Eric Ethington (Communications Director), Gabriel Joffe (Program Coordinator), and Kassia Palys (Development Coordinator). Staff researchers include Rev. Kapya Kaoma, Cole Parke, and Mariya Strauss. Fellows include Frederick Clarkson, Rachel Tabachnick, T.F. Charlton, and Spencer Sunshine.

PRA publishes a journal, The Public Eye, quarterly, which reports on specific and current movements or trends within the U.S. political Right, and also produces special reports, past examples of which include "Calculated Compassion: How the Ex-Gay Movement Serves the Right's Attacks on Democracy,"[1] authored by former PRA research analyst, Surina Khan," which details attacks on gays and lesbians, and "Decades of Distortion," which alleged scapegoating of welfare recipients.[2]

The group provides public speakers, and has staff on hand to answer queries from journalists, researchers, and activists. Its annual funding of approximately $700,000 per year comes from foundation grants, individual contributions, and the sale of research materials. Expenditures are directed toward staffing, general & administrative expenses, programs and fundraising.[3] Among its major donors are the Public Welfare Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

PRA is supported by a number of progressive and liberal activists, including Anne Braden of the Southern Organizing Committee, and Suzanne Pharr of the Highlander Research Center. Pharr has written that PRA "sets the standard for researchers and political analysts of integrity," and describes the group's research as "thorough, thoughtful, carefully researched, and presented within a broad context of understanding of the complex relationships and activities of the Right." [2]

Stanley Kurtz of the conservative magazine National Review described PRA's researchers as "conspiracy mongers" for a 1994 report on the religious right, and claims that PRA used guilt by association techniques to associate conservative Christians with theocratic Dominionism.[4] PRA responded to Kurtz by stating that the report was "a serious study of the Dominionist Christian Reconstructionist movement."[5]

See also


  1. Khan, Surina. "Calculated Compassion". Political Research Associates. Retrieved 2011. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. 1 2 PRA: About Us
  3. PRA Annual Report 2003-2004 See page 16
  4. "By quoting a pathetic Dominionist extremist’s desperate efforts to prove his own influence, clever liberals can now argue that the ultimate goal of all conservative Christians is the re-institution of slavery, and execution for blasphemers and witches. Dominionist Domination May 2, 2005
  5. The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy
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