Protesters demonstrate outside of Koch fund-raiser for Romney
July 8th, 2012
06:19 PM ET
2 years ago

Protesters demonstrate outside of Koch fund-raiser for Romney

Southampton, New York (CNN) – Some 200 protesters, according to local law enforcement officials, gathered Sunday near the residence of billionaire David Koch, who held a private fund-raiser attended by Mitt Romney at his home in Southampton.

The protesters, taking issue with the amount of money Koch and his brother Charles are likely to spend in the race, carried signs and beat drums as they marched along the water near Koch’s residence and chanted, "Our elections aren't for sale," and "Whose beach? Our beach."

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As they walked to the Koch residence, they passed the homes of fashion designer Calvin Klein and financier Leon Black. One group carried a large sign that read, "Romney has a Koch problem," while a plane flying overhead carried a banner with the same message.

David Koch, and his brother Charles are controversial figures in the Republican Party who support conservative and libertarian causes. Backers of the group Americans for Prosperity, the pair of industrialists are expected to spend tens – if not hundreds – of millions on Republican causes this year.

The protesters said they represented groups including MoveOn.org, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Long Island, Occupy Huntington and the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

"We're here because of David Koch and his vow to purchase a president,” said Anthony Zenkus, with Occupy Wall Street, pointing to the large amount of money the Koch brothers are speculated to spend. “It doesn't sound like democracy to me."

Zenkus added that they’ve also “protested (President Barack) Obama."

Romney was in the area for three fund-raising events. Along a stop at the Koch home, Romney also appeared at a lunch hosted by business magnate Ron Perelman in East Hampton, as well as an event at former U.S. Ambassador Clifford Sobel’s home on Meadow Lane in Southampton.

Mark Epley, mayor of Southampton, characterized the demonstrations as "going well so far."

In East Hampton, where Perelman lives, two men were arrested after running their sailboat into a marine patrol unit set up as part of a police line along the shore, according to East Hampton Village Police Captain Michael J. Tracey.

The two men’s boat attempted to cross the line, but struck the police boat. One of them tried to flee by swimming to shore but was met by more police and arrested on the beach. Both men were charged with obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to Tracey.

The Koch residence in Southampton was surrounded by a high level of security, including about two-dozen personnel stationed outside the residence along the beach.

The protesters were assembled in a "free speech area" several blocks down from the Koch property, according to New York state police captain David Candelaria. Law enforcement officials shut down a portion of the road for the demonstrators, some of whom bused in from New York City.

"Its peaceful,” he told CNN as the protest was still underway. “No issues."

Responding to the protests, Romney's campaign described them as an example of the left attempting to divert from the president's record.

"After three and a half disappointing years in office, President Obama and his liberal allies are desperate to divert attention from his broken promises and failed record," said spokesman Rick Gorka in a statement."Under this President, unemployment has risen to 8.2% and his administration has been unable to propose any new ideas that can turn around our economy. As President, Mitt Romney will reform our tax code, cut bloated government spending and promote pro-growth policies that will create jobs for middle class families.”

– CNN’s Jessica Yellin and Khara Lewin contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • Mitt Romney • New York
soundoff (360 Responses)
  1. Name JR

    Cnn you're getting way to predictable. Please officialy endorse your candidate and then report your news. This is almost shameful calling yourself a unbiased news outlet. You are a joke.

    July 8, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. Louden Swain

    Obama'a minions marching on the beach

    July 8, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. King

    the cocked brothers are teaching mitten how to polute the earth and hide their money in other countries from the tax man. all these folks care about is their cash flow, and if the earth have to die, or America should suffer because these folks are hiding money in other countries, well so be it. how can America pick a this heartless and unpatriotic mitten to run this country.

    July 8, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    You do is drive these GOP animals out in November and vote for "Direct Democratic Ticket" and OBAMA. Period. Tell your friends via face book, twitter. Etc. let us all work in full swing. Yes, on OBAMA12.

    July 8, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. gt

    as the country goes down the toliet....these people want another four more yrs of this ....high unemployment..,home prices stink,..retirement falling...they most be rich lawyers with nothing to do on a sunday afternoon...

    July 8, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Jaded

    People should just say no to Koch!

    OBAMA 2012

    July 8, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  7. SafeJourney

    Mitt, repubs and Koch. Americans will NOT let you "lie and buy" this election. Put your millions in to helping the American people. Shame on all of you.

    July 8, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    "Our elections aren't for sale" and neither to be stolen by suppressing voters or any other way. Koch Bros. and others may have billions to buy lots of real estate, etc. but not this HOUSE known as AMERICA, it ain't for sale today or ever.

    July 8, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. DJ

    And yet it was alright for Obama to have raised record amounts back in 2008. But now that it is Romney out raising there is a problem? More of the political games !!

    July 8, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Lady L

    I was there as the 3 bus loads of ranting protesters arrived and stood on street corners shouting at passing cars, pedestrians and police. Of course, they were not where Romney was, he never saw them. I'll bet most residents and beach goers were not amused by these rowdy antics. BTW, I support Romney.

    July 8, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. enuff

    I agree with the protesters. Our democracy and government is NOT FOR SALE!

    July 8, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. scott

    Shine the Bright Light on the Koch Brothers, sunlight is the best antiseptic.

    July 8, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. PJ/TX

    This is where Mitt is getting his marching orders. Of course the Koch Bros, and everybody else can spend their
    own money however they want to, but MItt should be aware that we all know he has no ideas or plans and
    that these are the people that will be making the decisions for America. He will be their puppet, and we are in
    big trouble if he wins. This is just "parlor games" to the Kochs. They don't give a whit about anyone but
    themselves, and the greedy little wimps are falling in line right behind them, kissing their rings and asking
    "how high" should I jump. Trump is nothing compared to these guys.

    July 8, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  14. george S

    Part of Romney's core anti Obama "slide & buy" political strategy...
    Just "Slide" into the Presidency by simply bashing Obama (versus any pro Romney stand)..and "Buy" the Election with his super PAC's $$$..from Koch and his billionaire pals.

    I just hope and pray the American public can see through all this...

    July 8, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Darryl

    Glad to see people demonstrate their freedom and rights. The Koch Borthers are evil and maniplative and think they can buy the U.S. Well it's not going to work this time, the people of this country are going to come out of the woodwork in November and President Obama will be re-elected for his well deserved second term. That I can guarantee.

    July 8, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. allenwoll

    You mess with Koch, you wind up with nasty clinkers !

    (You youngsters will have to look it up : coke, a fuel manufactured from coal).

    July 8, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. John

    That what the Republican are trying to do Is buying the Election, that why the Koch's Brother and there Millionaire and Billionaire are giving Mitt Romney so much Money. Well I don't want a puppet has President or someone that somebody pay for.

    July 8, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  18. Who Shocked?

    America was sold a long time ago. How does this shock anyone?

    July 8, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Reggie from LA

    Why now? Why do they have to rule America right now? Oh yeah, the very idea of Obama having a second term is just too much for them. They want to be assured of oil subsidies, tax relief, credibility for Americans for Prosperity, keep the Tea Party relevant. But what about the economy? Healthcare? Oh well.... Give the Kochs what they want...Robmey.

    July 8, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Yet, CNN doesn't bother to question where or how Obama gets his funds. Not to mention why he has yet to show a birth certificate (a certificate of live birth is not the same thing) or his college transcripts.

    July 8, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  21. GB

    They can spend hundreds of millions if they want – it's not going to sit will with American voters, I actually find it sickening, like Romney's handful of very rich friends are going to buy him the election.....and who can even imagine what they will want back if they get their puppet in???? Not a single thing that is good for Americans or America. Romney is just not likeable, no matter what they do he just seems to be less and less likeable as time goes on and no one people will vote for this slick loser for our President! He and his rich friends are not what America or our democracy are about.

    July 8, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  22. Davis Miller

    President Barack Obama, 2012!!!!!!!! (eight exclamation points, eight years in office)

    The only vote for people of conscience.

    July 8, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Jill-IN

    31 states have an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent or less. In many states, the unemployment rate is very low. To say that 8.2 is some national average of unemployment is very misleading. Romney does not care about employment or unemployment of the average Americans. He did not make a career starting up a company and building it up from scratch and running it. He has made money by big deals that turn a profit for the deal makers – it is very important and like breathing air to them.

    July 8, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. John

    As President, Mitt Romney will reform our tax code, cut bloated government spending and promote pro-growth policies that will create jobs for middle class families.” All of these are just vague comments for the misinformed to lap up. Perhaps, one can still hope Romney will come forward with a detailed plan, rather than jus hoping to skate into the WH. One won't happen without the other, as Romney hopes stupid people will vote now and expect ideas later.

    July 8, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Bootstomper

    Romney has a underwear problem.

    July 8, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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