About U.S. Right to Know

U.S. Right to Know is a nonprofit investigative public health research and journalism group working globally to expose corporate wrongdoing and government failures that threaten our health, environment and food system. We work in the public interest to help keep families healthy.

We uncover, report on and share documents obtained through public records laws and from whistleblowers, and collaborate with public health academics and journalists around the world. Our investigations into the pesticide and ultra-processed food industries have been reported on worldwide, leading to three New York Times exposés; more than a dozen articles in the BMJ, one of the world’s leading medical journals; and 16 co-authored peer-reviewed public health journal articles. Our team has also reported extensively on the origins of Covid-19 and high-risk virological research.

We were recognized in a Lancet Global Health report that named U.S. Right to Know as an example of public health investigative work that challenges the corporate playbook, alongside Transparency International and Open Secrets.

Because of the work we do, powerful entities have tried to attack us and undermine our credibility. We invite you to read more about this problem and our work in the following links.

  • The Freedom of the Press Foundation reported on our work: “Transparency advocate Gary Ruskin wanted to know how the powerful food and agrochemical industries influence public universities and their research … His numerous public records requests have produced documents that have exposed relationships between universities and companies like Monsanto, but the agrochemical industry is fighting to keep these ties secret.”
  • Monsanto’s campaign against U.S. Right to Know: Documents became public in 2019 revealing Monsanto had a “USRTK FOIA Communications Plan” to counteract our investigations. According to the 31-page Monsanto document, “USRTK’s plan will impact the entire industry … Any situation related to this issue has the potential to be extremely damaging.” The Guardian reported how Monsanto’s ‘intelligence center’ targeted U.S. Right to Know and singers like Neil Young.

We invite you to read our work.

U.S. Right to Know is a recipient of a James Madison Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, NorCal Chapter, 2021.

Donors & IRS filings

Our major donors and IRS filings are available here.

We hope you will support our right to know and help expand ourinvestigations by donating today.

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Our Staff

Gary Ruskin, Executive Director and Co-founder

Gary Ruskin is executive director and co-founder of U.S. Right to Know. Gary started doing public interest work in 1987. For fourteen years, he directed the Congressional Accountability Project, which opposed corruption in the U.S. Congress. For nine years, he was executive director and co-founder (with Ralph Nader) of Commercial Alert, which opposed the commercialization of every nook and cranny of our lives and culture. In 2012, he was campaign manager for Proposition 37, a statewide ballot initiative for labeling of genetically engineered food in California. He was also director of the Center for Corporate Policy. He has authored or co-authored articles in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Mothering, Multinational Monitor, Environmental Health News, Milbank Quarterly, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Journal of Public Health Policy, Globalization and Health, Public Health Nutrition, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Critical Public Health and many others. In 2013, he wrote a report on corporate espionage against nonprofit organizations. He received his undergraduate degree in religion from Carleton College, and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also the father of a 16 year-old daughter and a 5 year-old son.

Contact Gary: gary@usrtk.org or garymruskin@protonmail.com
Follow Gary on Twitter: @GaryRuskin

Stacy Malkan, Managing Editor and Co-founder

Stacy Malkan is co-founder and managing editor of U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative research group working globally to expose corporate wrongdoing and government failures that threaten our health, environment and food system. She investigates and reports on pesticide and food industry PR and lobbying operations. Stacy is author of the award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry (New Society Publishers, 2007), and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of health groups that exposed hazardous chemicals in personal care and baby products, and pressured companies to reformulate to safer products. Her work has been featured in Time magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Nature Biotechnology, Good Morning America, Wall Street Journal, and many other media outlets. She has appeared in several documentary films including The Human Experiment produced by Sean Penn, Pink Skies, Stink Movie, and Not so Pretty now airing on HBO Max.

Contact Stacy: stacy@usrtk.org
Follow Stacy on Twitter: @StacyMalkan

Karolina Corin, PhD, Staff Scientist

Karolina Corin, PhD, is a staff scientist with backgrounds in both engineering and biology.Much of her research has focused on the expression, solubilization, folding, structure, and stabilization of membrane proteins, a class of proteins involved in many diseases that are notoriously difficult to study. She developed a cell-free expression platform allowing the largest number of GPCRs to date to be expressed, and demonstrated that novel surfactants like peptide detergents can be used to express, solubilize, and stabilize membrane proteins. As part of a team, she was the first to express, purify, and characterize the ligand-binding of insect olfactory receptors, and performed pioneering experiments demonstrating that a simple substitution code could be used to make GPCRs soluble without altering their structure or function.

Karolina has authored or co-authored 17 peer-reviewed scientific articles that have been published in journals such as PNAS , Protein Science, EMBO, and the Journal of Molecular Biology. She has also served as a scientific peer-reviewer, holds two patents, and recently published pieces on long Covid in children in the LA Times and Today’s Parent. Karolina earned her MS in mechanical engineering and PhD in biological engineering from MIT. She completed a postdoc at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and worked as a staff scientist at UCLA before joining U.S. Right to Know. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-3080-5742.

Sainath Suryanarayanan, PhD, Staff Scientist

As Staff Scientist at U.S. Right to Know, Dr. Sainath Suryanarayanan brings depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in the social studies of science and technology, insect biology, and molecular and cellular pharmacology. He is the lead author of Vanishing Bees: Science, Politics and Honeybee Health (Rutgers University Press, 2017). Drawing on extensive interviews, ethnographic research, and archival analysis, Vanishing Bees shows how historical interactions between entomologists in land grant universities, the US Department of Agriculture and agrichemical companies have shaped the contemporary terrains of knowledge and ignorance about the interplay between pesticides and honeybee health. Sai’s contributions to debates about the politics of knowledge and ignorance, the place of non-scientists in knowledge production, and multispecies studies have appeared in multiple journals including Engaging Science Technology & Society, Environmental Humanities, The Guardian (UK), Social Studies of Science, and Science, Technology & Human Values. His current book project examines biobehavioral research on insect societies as a crucial ground for the development of theories and approaches concerning the constitution of society in the postgenomic era.

Contact Sai: sainath@usrtk.org
Follow Sai on Twitter: @sai_suryan

Emily Kopp, Investigative Reporter

Emily Kopp is an investigative reporter with U.S. Right to Know. Previously she led COVID-19 coverage at CQ Roll Call, breaking critical stories about the pandemic, including revealing that the CDC was asking nurses to wear bandanas, case clusters in Amazon warehouses, and the Congressional push to shield corporations from legal liability for outbreaks. Previously she reported on the pharmaceutical industry for Kaiser Health News, specializing in the industry’s efforts to shape policy in Washington. A year-long investigation into connections between drugmakers and patient advocacy groups prompted the American Journal of Public Health to call for more transparency. She graduated from the University of Georgia summa cum laude, receiving degrees in journalism, international affairs and economics. In her spare time she volunteers with Street Sense, a street paper about homelessness. She lives in Washington, DC.

Contact Emily: emily@usrtk.org
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyAKopp

Hana Mensendiek, Investigator

Hana Mensendiek is an investigative researcher at U.S. Right to Know. Prior to joining USRTK, she was part of the COVID-19 response team at PADECO, Co., Ltd, where she researched action patterns taken by governments and large international aid organizations, transmission patterns in schools, and the serious side-effects of school closure such as increased domestic violence, food insecurity for those who relied on school lunch for healthy nutrition, and a widening gap in learning for refugee children. She graduated from Carleton College summa cum laude, with degrees in political science/international relations and cognitive science. She is based in New York City and Tokyo, Japan.

Becky Morrison, Researcher

A 2016 graduate of NYU’s Food Studies master’s program, her work has focused on legal and policy strategies aimed at curbing food marketing to kids and reducing diet-related disease, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages. Prior to joining USRTK, she worked at the New York State Attorney General’s office in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds, where she investigated the potentially deceptive marketing of child-targeted products. She also served as a Food Policy Fellow for New York City Council Member Ben Kallos. A former chef and caterer, Becky remains an avid home cook. She resides in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and seven-year-old son.

Contact Becky: becky@usrtk.org
Follow Becky on Twitter: @Beckymorr

Our Board of Directors

Charlie Cray

Charlie has been a member of Greenpeace USA ’s research department since 2010. Between 1989 and 1999, he also worked with Greenpeace as a member of the Greenpeace Toxics Campaign, organizing campaigns to shut down toxic waste incinerators and phase out PVC plastics. Between 1999 and 2004, Charlie helped edit Multinational Monitor magazine and directed the Campaign for Corporate Reform at Citizen Works. He is the co-author of The People’s Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy (Berrett-Koehler, 2003), as well as numerous environmental and corporate accountability articles, reports, and blogs. Between 2004 and 2010, Charlie directed the Center for Corporate Policy, researching and publishing numerous articles and reports about a variety of topics related to corporate power and accountability, including corporate tax dodging, executive compensation, contractor accountability and corporate crime. During that time he co-founded and helped maintain the watchdog web site, HalliburtonWatch.org, using it to press for government contractor accountability and reform. Charlie is a graduate of Amherst College.

Lisa Graves

Lisa is executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy. She has served as a senior advisor in all three branches of the federal government and other posts.

She has also worked as a leading strategist on civil liberties advocacy in the area of national security and as an adjunct law professor at one of the top law schools in the country. Her former leadership positions include:

  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Policy/Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice (handling an array of civil and criminal policy issues as well as leading the working group on judicial nominations — worked under both Attorneys General Janet Reno and John Ashcroft)
  • Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for the Chairman/Ranking Member
  • Senior Legislative Strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union (on national security and surveillance policies)
  • Deputy Director of the Center for National Security Studies
  • Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division of the U.S. Courts (including oversight of the Financial Disclosure Office for judicial ethics)

Graves has testified as an expert witness on national security/homeland security and transparency issues before both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. She has also appeared as an expert on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC, C-SPAN, and other news programs and on numerous radio shows, including National Public Radio, Democracy Now!, Air America, and Pacifica Radio. Her analysis has been quoted in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, Congressional Quarterly, Roll Call, National Journal, Legal Times, Newsday, and Wired, among others, as well as online in The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, and other blogs. She has also helped with legal briefs and her analysis of national security issues has been published by the Texas Law Review and other publications. She was also the managing editor for the Clinton Administration’s National Integrated Firearms Violence Reduction Strategy.

Ben Lilliston

Ben Lilliston is the Interim Co-Executive Director and Director of Rural Strategies and Climate Change at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Ben has been working and writing about international trade issues and how they intersect with U.S. agricultural policy since 2000, including multiple World Trade Organization ministerials, the passage of CAFTA, several Farm Bills and now current trade debates. He most recently authored the report, The Climate Cost of Free Trade. Other recent reports include: Big Meat Swallows the TPP and Unknown Benefits, Hidden Costs: Neonicotinoid Seed Coatings, Crop Yields and Pollinators. He was a contributor to the U.N. Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Trade and Environmental Review 2013, the bookMandate for Change (Lexington), and co-author of the bookGenetically Engineered Foods: A Guide for Consumers (Avalon). He has worked as a researcher, writer and editor at a number of organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Corporate Crime Reporter, Multinational Monitor, Cancer Prevention Coalition and Sustain. Ben has a Bachelor of Philosophy degree from University of Miami (Ohio).

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