Mount Kisco's Village Board of Trustees is open to the idea of amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which lifted restrictions on campaign finance regulations that covered corporate donations for political organization.
At its Monday meeting, the board adopted a resolution to draft legislation calling for such a move. The motion would be symbolic in nature, as the amendment process requires either approval from Congress and at least 38 states or through a Constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the states.
Jane Pendergast, a Mount Kisco resident a member of the regional chapter for the liberal political group MoveOn.org, seeing local action as a way to build up pressure for changing the constitution. She said that throughout history, amendments originated through “groundswells of local communities.”
Pendergast is also part of the Move to Amend Coalition, which has made such a change its cause. She supports an amendment that would declare corporations not to be treat constitutionally similar to individuals, and would declare that the use of money does not equate to free speech. The amendment would give the government power to regulate both.
Pendergast argued that the court's 2010 decision has opened the way for less transparency for donations via the Super PACs donation process, and with large amounts of money, unlimited, that can be donated by individuals and corporations. Supporters of the move, according to published media reports, agree with the Supreme Court's assertion in the ruling and its spirit.
Roughly 200 communities across the country have supported amending the constitution, according to Pendergast, including in Westchester County.
Trustees were receptive to the message, which was brought on when Pendergast attended a recent meeting calling for legislation.
Mayor Michael Cindrich described her action as "commendable" for approaching the lowest level of government.
To learn more about the Citizens United decision, click here for a copy from Cornell University's law school.