Politics & Government
11:35 am
Tue April 29, 2014

CNY Groups Trying to Change Constitution for Fair Elections

Michael Messina-Yauchzy with Move to Amend and Jonah Minkoff-Zern, National Director of Public Citizen's Democracy is for People campaign, were both in Albany Monday lobbying for New York to join the move to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
Credit Tony Cresswell.

  A group of Central New Yorkers joined a number of democracy groups in calling on state lawmakers to help limit the influence of money in politics.  

The Syracuse group Move to Amend is urging the legislature to pass a resolution in support of changing the constitution to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.  Michael Messina Yauchzy (YOT-see) explains New York would become the 17th state to make contributions more transparent.

“In congress there are about a dozen different amendments that have been introduced.  What they all agree on is to state that a corporation is not a person, with inherent rights like a human being.  We need to take back our government from corporations that are just dominating money in politics to the point where people are just being drowned out.”

The supporters believe a constitutional amendment change would go farther than other efforts to limit the influence of money, such as public financing of campaigns.

“If you want public finance, you need this first.  Studies have shown the effectiveness of public finance in terms of getting a wider array of candidates, but without limits on how much can be spent and how much can be given, it’s easy to circumvent any kind of public finance system.” 

Michael Messina-Yauchzy reflects on the support he's finding in Albany, as well as the absolute importance he believes of this constitutional amendment.

Messina-Yauchzy says about 100 people from around the state were lobbying state senators.  He says they hope to have a bill this session…but realizes changing the constitution is a long process.