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Derek Cressman began working professionally to reduce big money in politics in 1995 with non-partisan organizations including Common Cause and the Public Interest Research Groups. As U.S. PIRG’s democracy program director, he was the first professional advocate in Washington, D.C. to support a constitutional amendment to limit campaign spending.
As director of Common Cause’s Amend 2012 campaign, Cressman was the architect behind voter instruction measures in Montana, Colorado, Massachusetts and California where voters demanded Congress pass an amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.
In 2014, Derek Cressman ran for California Secretary of State. Though he didn’t win his election, the legislature responded to his campaign, and the efforts of others, by referring a question to the November 2014 ballot instructing Congress to overturn the Citizens United ruling – the central plank of Derek’s campaign platform. Both during and after his campaign, Derek joined the March for Democracy where activists walked from Los Angeles to Sacramento, culminating in a non-violent civil disobedience were many were arrested for a sit in at the state Capitol.
Cressman has testified before committees of the United States Senate, California Assembly and Senate, California Fair Political Practices Commission, served as an expert in federal litigation, and authored and co-authored numerous reports as well as one previous book: The Recall’s Broken Promise—How Big Money Still Runs California Politics. Derek has appeared extensively in the media including USA Today, the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, The Hill, National Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Sacramento Bee, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Austin American Statesman, the Orlando Sentinel, the Albuquerque Journal, and the Kansas City Star.
When he’s not working to improve our democracy, Derek enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He credits his time running marathons and mountaineering with building his fortitude to tackle obstacles like the U.S. Supreme Court. He is an avid woodworker and picks at the banjo when he needs a break. Derek grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated cum laude from Williams College in 1990 with a degree in political science.