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A New Strategy For Full Representation in Congress: Have the District of Columbia Government Sue State Legislatures
|| 7/14/2010 || 2:54 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last night I received an e-mail from Timothy Cooper, executive director of World Rights, about his recent appearance on NewsChannel 8 and decided to save the video to publish here. The thrust of the new strategy is to have the District government sue the State legislatures around the United States for denying District residents full representation in Congress using international law as the basis for this lawsuit. The strategy is quite novel and I’m curious to see how this turns out.

The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at today’s Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
|| 2/11/2009 || 2:43 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Roll Call’s photo of the week from April, 2007

Today I attended the Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs dressed in my colonial attire. I wear this costume for every congressional hearing related to representation for the residents of Washington, DC. I arrived early enough to snag a decent seat and sat down next to my friend Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown. As the other Senators arrived for the meeting he & I chatted about ideas related to what we can do next to get statehood for the District of Columbia.

A few minutes later when Senator Joe Lieberman walked in, Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown stood up, greeted him, and shook his hand. Senator Lieberman then looks at me and said something along the lines of “I’m glad to see that we have a colonist here. Do you go by the name of Paul Revere?” I said, “No, I’m just a DC colonist.” He followed, “So you don’t have a name? Just ‘DC Colonist’?” and I responded, “I’m just a DC Colonist that suffers taxation without representation.” He smiled, walked over to the end of the table, and sat down at his seat. A few minutes later the hearing began and he decided to greet me publicly…..

Click here to listen to the audio
Click here to watch the video

[to watch the video, you first need to hit play, then scroll the slider over to about 21:10 to watch the introduction]

Senator Lieberman said:

I do want to note and welcome Mayor Fenty of the District of Columbia we are honored that you are here and a somewhat older resident of the District from colonial times [laughter] also present. I gather you are making the general point about taxation without representation [off camera I nod in the affirmative]. Okay I don’t need to make my case any stronger than that [laughter]. Thank you for being here.

Also worthy of mention is that later on in the hearing (at around 43:15 into the video), Senator George Voinovich mentions the time when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were in Washington, DC and we lobbied them on the Potomac River (right photo). Hearing him mention that day made me laugh. It was one of my favorite demonstrations I’ve ever taken part in! I remember watching the parliamentarians applaud our efforts from the ship and the following day they passed a resolution calling on the United States government to give DC residents congressional representation.

In the end, only Senator John McCain voted against the bill, S.R. 160, the senate version of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, and it passed the committee with a vote of 11-1. Unfortunately, I agree with McCain’s opinion, only states should receive representation in Congress.

I feel that DC Vote and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wasted a huge opportunity to give DC residents equal representation in Congress by reintroducing this three-year-old, constitutionally questionable legislation that was written for a Republican controlled congress. Times have changed, however, the bill and its constitutional underpinnings have not. I’m not sure what will happen next to the bill, like when will it be voted on, but I am sure it will be challenged on it’s constitutionality. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work with my Shadow Delegation on lobbying for statehood for the District of Columbia.

UPDATE: February 12th, 2009 – Comedian Stephan Colbert interviewed Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton the following night:

Its too bad the editors missed the chance with the Colonist…

Related Colonist Entries:


The Organization For Security And Cooperation In Europe Continues To Press The US Goverment on Full Congressional Representation for D.C. Residents
|| 8/6/2008 || 2:11 pm || 3 Comments Rendered || ||

Last night the graphic above was forward to me by my friend and fellow activist, Timothy Cooper of World Rights, an NGO that works to promote and protect human rights under principles of international law.

I have worked with Timothy on many different human rights demonstrations in the past involving the OSCE. He was quoted in David Montgomery’s article about me as saying “Nikolas looks better in a Colonial outfit and a tricorner hat than practically anyone I know.” Timothy Cooper is also one heck of a piano player, but what I respect him for most is his ongoing work on behalf of the disenfranchised residents of America’s capital city.

As one of the few activists who have succeeded in placing the international spotlight on Washington, DC’s lack of voting representation, this press release below shows that he’s been continuing the fight. In the Needs Assessment Mission Report[pdf] published by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights there is a specific paragraph that I don’t think would have been included without his diligence. It references the 2006 OSCE Declaration that we helped lobby for; both on land and water.

Human Rights Advocacy Worldwide

For Immediate Release

Date: August 4, 2008
Contact: Timothy Cooper
Tel: 202.361.0989


Washington, DC—In a “Needs Assessment Mission Report [pdf]” issued by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on July 28, 2008, the OSCE concluded that “[w]hile the United States of America has a long-standing tradition of democratic elections, several issues raised in previous OSCE/ODIHR reports, and those highlighted by OSCE/ODIHR NAM interlocutors, merit further attention.” Among those issues raised in previous OSCE reports is the continuing denial of full congressional representation to the nearly 600,000 residents of Washington, D.C. In its last election observation report issued in 2006, the OSCE called on the U.S. government to grant D.C. residents full congressional voting rights. The United States is obligated to guarantee full representation in Congress to the residents of the District of Columbia under the 1990 OSCE Copenhagen Document, to which it is party.

The new report’s Executive Summary notes that “only citizens of states are entitled to vote for congressional representation with full voting rights, leaving approximately 600,000 US citizens in Washington DC alone without full representation in Congress….”

The latest report’s findings also state that “[a]ccording to the Constitution, United States citizens who are not citizens of one of the 50 states are not able to vote for members of Congress who have full voting rights in Congress. It is estimated that up to 600,000 citizens in Washington DC alone, without including citizens in US territories, are subject to US laws including taxation and permitted to vote in the presidential election, but cannot fully exercise their voting rights for Congressional representation.”

Worldrights lobbied the OSCE/ODIHR for many years to draw its attention to the willful disenfranchisement of D.C. residents by Congress and the Executive Branch.

The report may be found at: or by clicking here[pdf]

The current Democratic Party leadership mentioned in the graphic above have been advocating 1/3 representation for the residents of Washington, DC for far too long. What is funny about the graphic to me is it uses the 1/3 meme that I’ve been pressing for the last few years:

First with the license plate:

Which received mention in the Washington Times

Then the D.C. Flag

….and now the graphic above employs the concept of being begging to the 1/3 meme. I wonder what meme will be next? I can only hope the Democratic Party leadership changes their direction in favor of what Washington, DC residents voted for: statehood or at least full representation in Congress (not one token vote in the House of Representatives and no Senators).

Related OSCE Entries:


OSCE Finds US Government Violates Human Rights
|| 3/27/2007 || 4:21 pm || Comments Off on OSCE Finds US Government Violates Human Rights || ||

Posted on Sunday to theMail by my friend Timothy Cooper:

On March 9, the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) issued a major report on the 2006 mid-term US congressional elections(PDF), and concluded that the US government violates DC citizens’ basic political rights, as well as those of US citizens living in the territories, by denying them full representation in Congress. The OSCE report states, among other things, that “US citizens who are not citizens of one of the fifty states are not able to vote for members of Congress who have the right to vote on the floor. . . . These restrictions exist even though such US citizens are subject to US federal law and pay federal taxes. . . . It is . . . estimated that in Washington, DC, alone, without including US citizens of US territories, up to half a million US citizens are not permitted to vote in federal elections for full congressional representation. As these citizens are subject to US laws, including taxation, the denial of full representation, as underscored by the Constitution and Supreme Court decisions, would appear to be a limitation of voting rights.” The OSCE recommends that “US authorities should consider all possibilities to provide full representation rights for all US citizens.”

The OSCE is Europe’s largest human rights monitoring body. It is composed of 56 countries, spans the globe from Russia to Canada, and is the world’s preeminent democratic election monitoring body, which regularly observes elections in all OSCE countries. The US is a founding member of the organization, and is bound by all of its human rights commitment. The right to participate equally in one’s own national legislature is a key OSCE democratic election standard under the 1990 Copenhagen Act. In 2002, Worldrights launched a campaign to win the OSCE’s endorsement of full Congressional voting rights for DC residents. Since then, Worldrights has appeared at the OSCE’s annual Human Dimension Implementation meetings in Warsaw, Poland, pressing for the OSCE to address the DC issue and make recommendations. The complete report may be found at:

Worldrights has also requested that the US Helsinki Commission, under the new leadership of Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), hold hearings on US noncompliance. The Helsinki Commission regularly monitors the human rights compliance of other OSCE countries.

On July 1st, 2005 I greeted the OSCE parliamentarians when they met in Washington, DC for the first time. Alongside Tim, Statehood Green Party members, and DC Vote, we organized a street meet & greet, where I said hello to the parliamentarians dressed in my colonial costume as they entered the hotel for the day’s meetings.

That afternoon we had a press conference in Freedom Plaza (you can watch the video here, scroll down to OSCE) next to a ballot box enclosed in a barbed wire fence. The following day, we conducted the first even naval lobbying effort in the history of D.C.! As the OSCE parliamentarians took a yatch ride to the historic home of George Washington, we followed them on D.C. Shadow Senator’s Paul Strauss’ boat with a banner that read “OSCE Equal Voting Rights for D.C.”

Seeing this continued postition of the OSCE is great news and shows that our efforts have had a lasting impact. Alas, we still are denied representation in both chambers of Congress….

Read my OSCE related blog entries…
Text of the OSCE Report(PDF) after the fold.


I am mentioned in the Northwest Current
|| 7/7/2005 || 3:46 pm || Comments Off on I am mentioned in the Northwest Current || ||

This is probably one of my favorite articles regarding the OSCE festivities.

best line:
“The last landlocked colony,” :-) I had to throw that geographic reference in there!


International Body Backs Vote for D.C.
|| 7/6/2005 || 8:55 am || Comments Off on International Body Backs Vote for D.C. || ||

This is probably the final installment from the Washington Post concerning the OSCE for a little while, or until Congress decides to do something about it’s democratic hypocrisy….you can’t bring democracy to the world when you deny democracy at home….


OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopts Washington Declaration
|| 7/5/2005 || 9:55 pm || Comments Off on OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopts Washington Declaration || ||

From the Final Declaration (page 8 ):

58. Urges participating states to organize their systems for the recording of civil status and census information, in conformity with international human rights standards so as to move towards an optimal degree of reliability, to guarantee the individual right of vote to all citizens and calls on the Congress of the United States to adopt such legislation as may be necessary to grant the residents of Washington, D.C. equal voting rights in their national legislature in accordance with its human dimension commitments;

This paragraph is our collective win! All of my most recent civil rights activism has been dedicated to making sure that this pararaph became a reality.

Via the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:


Examiner Coverage of our OSCE Maritime Lobbying Effort
|| 7/3/2005 || 10:05 pm || Comments Off on Examiner Coverage of our OSCE Maritime Lobbying Effort || ||

After meeting the reporter on Friday, he didn’t seem too informed about the DC voting rights issue and his article for the Examiner shows this. However, the Examiner is the only media outlet who covered our DC Democracy Naval lobbying effort.


The first DC Democracy Naval Battle
|| 7/2/2005 || 9:59 pm || Comments Off on The first DC Democracy Naval Battle || ||

I participated in the first naval battle for DC Democracy, and I believe we won! No bullets, bombs, or carnage, just a couple of boats, a few signs, and a whole lot of dedication.

Through the OSCE‘s draft itinerary, we knew that the Parliamentarians were going to be taking a cruise to Mount Vernon, and a few weeks ago I brought up the idea of setting up some sort of “DC Democracy Regatta.” Shadow Senator Paul Strauss volunteered to use his powerboat for the festivities he retitled “DC Democracy Castaways.”

After finding out that we had another boater come on-line on Thursday evening, I sent out an E-mail to the Team DC Democracy listserv requesting RSVPs for the cruise. In the end we had room for about 18 sailors on the two boats.

Around 1:30pm, I showed up at the Washington Marina and helped setup the ships. We placed the banners from yesterday’s rally on to the bow of the the ship- on the port side we placed the English version and on the starboard side we place the spanish translation of “Equal Voting Rights for DC.”

After having to kick off a few sailors (to make sure that if the Coast Guard decided to board our ships we had enough life jackets to be legal), we set off from the marina and picked up Tim Cooper, who had just finished briefing the Parliamentarians.

Senator Strauss CB radioed the “Spirit of the Potomac” telling the captain our intentions of following the ship and then contacted the Coast Guard to tell them as well. And at around 3:45pm we were sailing right next to the ship full of the OSCE Parliamentarians.

The parliamentarians on board were waving, throwing us the thumbs up sign, miming they were signing our resolution in the air…. We charmed the entire boatload! It was absolutely amazing.

I’m unaware of anyone taking the issue of equal voting rights for DC resident to the water, moreso to 317 parliamentarians from 55 countries captive on a boat! A first I am proud to have been a part of such a noble lobbying effort!

We followed them all the way to Mount Vernon, and when we turned back, all the Parliamentarians waved us goodbye! This was my first time on the Potomac, and I must say this is one of my favorite events I’ve ever taken part in, so I doubt I can replicate this experience. There was a camera man with the Examiner on board and I can’t wait to see what pictures he chooses to use and what they decided to write about!

Related OSCE Entries:


Out of Committee
|| || 7:16 pm || Comments Off on Out of Committee || ||

We have a second AP report concerning our amendment!

Foreign Legislators Back D.C. Voting Rights
Saturday July 02, 2005 5:23pm

Washington (AP) – D.C. voting rights advocates have won some international support.

A group of foreign legislators meeting in Washington has approved a measure urging Congress to pass legislation granting D.C. residents full congressional representation.

Today’s vote means the measure likely will be in Tuesday’s final international declaration by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – a pro-democracy group.

The measure doesn’t have the force of law, but will be included in the document distributed to the 55 member nations of OSCE, including the U.S..

The vote comes one day after more than 100 supporters of D.C. voting rights held at rally at Freedom Plaza to educate the foreign officials, who are meeting nearby.

The measure was introduced by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.

Again, not very informative, so I hope some news outlets pick up this news bit.

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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