Derek Cressman is author of the forthcoming book When Money Talks -- The High Price of "Free" Speech and the Selling of Democracy, published in January, 2016 by Barrett-Koehler.
ran for California Secretary of State in the June 2014 primary after spending 19 years working to protect voting rights and get corporate money out of politics. Derek didn’t win his election, but the legislature did refer Prop 49 to the November 2014 ballot calling upon 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 direct action were many were arrested for holding the US flag during a sit in at the state Capitol.
Prior to announcing his campaign, Derek served as Common Cause's Vice President of State Operations. In addition to managing the staff and program for 35 states, Derek coordinated Common Cause's Amend 2012 campaign to reverse the Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission ruling by the Supreme Court. In 2012, Derek exposed a secret $11 million contribution to California elections. His complaint at the Fair Political Practices Commission lead to the largest fine in the history of California campaign finance law against two dark money groups associated with the Koch brothers.
Mr. Cressman has worked professionally on democracy issues since 1995 as Director of the State PIRGs Democracy Program and founder and director of TheRestofUs.org. He has testified before 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.
He graduated with honors in Political Science from Williams College in 1990.