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. Tanny

    I think people should ask Judge Alito if presidential candidates are the puppets of rich corporations or people now or not ??

    July 8, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  2. Kim

    The Koch/Tea Party will go down in history as the political disaster that brought down America.

    July 8, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that we have seen that money doesn't always buy elections like it did in the Iowa primary of 2008 (a loss for Romney) and 2012 (a 2nd place finish to Santorum by a small amount). The amount of money shouldn't equal the amount of money one has. This is why I have a problem with Romney and his Koch brain trust.

    July 9, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. petena

    Romney is trying to buy the election. His ads say that on his first day in office her will repeal the Health Reform Act. Now isn't he nice? All the people that are now getting insurance will now have it taken away. Will he also be bringing Osama Bin Laden back as well as the economy we had in those days? What a goofball this guy is.

    July 9, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  5. phylee

    The sad thing is that many people in the republican party do not even know how sinister these brothers are.

    July 9, 2012 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. Beth

    Rick Gorka and the Republicans are delusional. I love how they neglect to mention that unemployment was over 10% when President Obama took office, and as far as "broken promises" go, not only has President Obama made good on his promises, I can't recall any other president who has worked as hard as he has to keep them. Obama doesn't need to run from his record, he has accomplished so much in such a short time under such difficult circumstances, and with such obstructionism from the GOP, I think he should be really proud of his record! I know I am proud of all he has accomplished. 4 More Years!!!

    July 9, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  7. JL. Taylor

    Republicans believe that something other tha demand creates a job. Not true.

    July 9, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  8. AmericanSam

    It's a "free speech area?" Geez. It's almost like they're mocking the idea of free speech by setting up a little area for it.

    July 9, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. tony

    Good bye Republic. Hello Emperor. Hail Caesar!

    July 9, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. Roy

    Where are Mitt's allegiances? In Switzerland? The Caymans?

    I cannot shelter funds in foreign currency, foreign property, or foreign banks. Can you? Mitt does.

    My fate, my wealth, and my allegiances, like those of 99% of my fellow Americans, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, hangs in the balance in this land.

    It's important that our fates be so attached to keep our confidences in one another and our allegiances at home; here, IN AMERICA!

    Is it too much to ask that our President's fates also be tied inseparably to our own?

    Let Romney count his Swiss Francs; he'll not count my vote!

    July 9, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  11. Roy

    Question: How many people do you personally know who has more than 10 bank accounts?
    Answer: You probably don’t know anyone with that many bank accounts. But in reality, there is at least one person like that whom we all know. His name is Willard Mitt Romney, also known as Etch-a-Sketch Romney to his campaign manager and any intelligent person who has been paying attention to the words Willard spews out of his empty head on a non-stop basis. So, before you cast your vote in November, please keep that thought in mind that Willard Romney has more than 130 personal bank accounts loaded with the pensions from all of the unemployed workers that Bain Capital left high-and-dry and stashed in their coffers, including Romney, who is now earning a handsome interest rate on daily while those whom the money was intended for struggle to make ends meet and will never forget how Romney shut down their jobs, companies, dreams and hopes so that he could get very rich.
    Romney has more than 130 bank accounts filled with stolen pensions.

    July 9, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  12. jake

    romney is a liar and a cheat. he will continue to reap huge profits from companies he destroys here and send work and jobs to china. romney cannot be trusted as president. only the wealthy will get tax breaks...hes alread promised them that. this nazi romney has to be stopped. he will never be president of the usa..

    July 9, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  13. Roy

    Remember Mitt Romney was joking a little of also being unemployed just like the others while he was chatting with a group of people last year. That was very unrespectful for what he did since he is very well-off while many of us are struggling while being unemployed.

    July 9, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  14. billy davis

    Mitt Romney " Want to buy America"

    July 9, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  15. moonghaelela

    News Flash

    We've always bought our presidents. Now it is out in the open for everyone to see.

    July 9, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  16. John

    Lurking in the dark shadows of everything Republican for the past thirty-plus years and currently Tea Party sponsors are the Koch brothers. Now they support Romney, promoter of giving more money to the rich and cutting everything from the middle class. A perfect match. And they've suckered almost half of all Americans into believing that it's patriotic, a civic duty, to give to the rich and take from the poor.

    July 9, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  17. ML

    Romney's visit to Montana is only for those exceptionally wealthy citizens who can pay thousands for a ticket to lobby to protect their wealth.. Gathering at the Daley Mansion in the tiny town of Hamilton (with an airport for flying in in private planes) there is zero provision for the public, local or otherwise. What kind of President would only have time for those able to pay multi- thousands to support his candidacy?

    July 9, 2012 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  18. steve

    Wow a huge protest of 5! Look out! LOL more reporters than protesters. Way to trump up a story CNN.

    July 9, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  19. Thomas

    I don't think democracy's extent was for the wealthiest individual to be King.

    July 9, 2012 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  20. debbie

    This is ridiculous. With all the money they are spending don't they think they could put a few people to work and help with the unemployment they complain about? Such a waste of money no matter what the cause. SIckens me.

    July 9, 2012 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  21. 0rangeW3dge

    "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,"--

    It sounds so good, I think we can have everybody sing along ~ ~ ~ ~

    "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,"

    July 9, 2012 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  22. RS, CA

    These are nothing more than a bunch of whiny brats who would rather "protest" at the beach than find work to support themselves (ANYwork!). They hate - and are jealous of - anyone who has succeeded in life. What a bunch of losers! Let them go enjoy "the good life" in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, etc. They don't deserve this country!

    July 9, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  23. Bart

    This article was written because of 200 protesters that were bused in for this event. Nothing for weeks on 'Fast and Furious' and White House security leaks. People REALLY need to TRUST the media on their reporting.
    The media and the protesters should note the envy is one of the seven deadly sins and lying is part of the Ten Commandments. Neither matters to communist.

    July 9, 2012 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  24. John the Historian

    Willard will lose despite the Koch brothers. Who could vote for a flip flopper and mormon cult follower. Willard said he would do more for Gay rights than Ted Kennedy and who fought Gay marriage harder. What did it get him. Willard got nothing passed in his state of Massachusetts except his individual mandate helath care the model for President Obama. Like Willard said I don't worry about the poor and I love to fire people. Can you imagine the economy under this corporate elite CEO. His Bain company destroyed employment for people. Let us see how many Christian Right southern Baptists vote for him when they know many policies for his theocratic mormon cult will come from Salt Lake City. I hope he goes to Nauvoo, Illinois and waits for the second coming of his polygamist Jesus Christ. Also Willard go find your con artist Joseph Smith's golden tablets about American Indians being the 13 tribe of Israel.

    July 9, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Kochs are throwing away money on Mitt(I have nothing to offer)McCain who will be lucky to survive the Tampa bloodbath soon.

    July 9, 2012 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
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