Derek Cressman began working professionally to reduce big money in politics in 1995 with such nonpartisan organizations as Common Cause and the Public Interest Research Group. As US PIRG’s democracy program director, he was the first professional advocate in Washington, DC, to support a constitutional amendment to limit campaign spending.
As director of Common Cause’s Amend 2012 campaign, Derek 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 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 from Los Angeles to Sacramento, culminating in a nonviolent civil disobedience where many activists were arrested for staging a sit-in at the state capitol.