The Mount Kisco Village Board of Trustees may join the debate on the controversial “Citizens United versus Federal Elections Commission” campaign finance decision by the US Supreme Court.
The trustees voted unanimously to draft a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling during their April 23 meeting.
The 2010 5-4 ruling stated there could be no limits on independent political campaign donations by corporations and unions.
During the April 23 meeting, village resident Jane Pendergast, a member of the MoveOn Northern Westchester Council, said nearly 200 municipalities and state legislatures throughout the nation have approved resolutions stating opposition to the Citizens United ruling, she said.
Pendergast said her organization wanted the board of trustees to approve a resolution that included two main points –“that corporations are not people and can be regulated and that money is not speech and can be regulated.”
“These two points address recent anti-democratic changes in this country’s history of generally supporting democratic limitations on election financing and transparency of funding sources,” Pendergast said. “These changes have produced an atmosphere of often irresponsible, untruthful advertisements that control the election discourse and drown out responsible sources of information about the candidates. We believe that the infusion of massive amounts of money, made possible by the Citizens United decision has distorted the election process and also has the capability of influencing all aspects and levels of government in an undemocratic way.”
Pendergast said it was important for local governments to take a stand against the Citizens United ruling. “Throughout our history constitutional amendments originating through groundswells from local communities have again and again moved our country forward toward greater democracy,” she said.
Pendergast provided the board members with samples of resolutions previously approved by local and state governments.
Members of the board of trustees said they were sympathetic to passing as resolution seeking the constitutional amendment. Mayor Michael Cindrich said he applauded Pendergast for bringing her initiative to “local levels of government,” which have been in the forefront of social change throughout American history.
For the constitution to be amended there would need to be the approval of at least two-thirds of the members of the US Senate and House of Representatives and then an okay by three-quarters of all the states. An amendment could also be approved in a convention called for by two-thirds of the states.