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. Marie MD

    I love how the bishop's campaign says that the bishop's tax returns are taking away from the real campaign but let's face it, the birther movement, which was/is a lie was okay.
    I have been clamoring for the bishop's 2011 TAXES FOR MONTHS!!! We need to know how in touch he is with the vanishing middle class and the poor.

    July 9, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  2. countryclubrepublican

    You have got to be kidding. There's like 20 people out there. Why is this news?

    July 9, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  3. Roberto Jordan

    As an independent thinker and voter I am simply disgusted with the double standards and hypocrisy that fills our political landscape.

    We have a president who actively courts the rich of Hollywood, people who produce nothing but enlarged egos and gossip for the tabloids...we have a president who as a candidate actively courted Wall Street and successfully generated the largest campaign purse in history....we have a president that is also supported by billionaires with great influence and power...yet when a candidate from the other party generates funds from the same type of donors...suddenly there are voiced concerns about the rich buying a president...and yes i did see the the quote that they protested against Obama as well...but I sincerely doubt it...and if by chance they did where was the press coverage?

    Both candidates are out to get the most campaign funding possible...so be it...let's stop with the moral outrage when this time it seems more even.

    July 9, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  4. craig

    Funny. Each side claims the other is trying to deny their own record by focusing upon the opponent. There's probably some truth in that, but the point is that Congress, specifically the GOP mess in the House has derailed nearly everything the President has attempted, so his record is blighted with their intransigence. Romney, on the other hand, has no record in governance, denies anything that happened while he was governor, and wants to run on his business record. Oddly, however, he doesn't want to talk about his business record, and doesn't like anyone else talking about it either. Why, exactly, does he have significant off-shore accounts? He won't say, beyond claiming he's paid all the taxes he legally owed. Likely we'll never know if that's true, but even assuming it is, there are few reasons for having off-shore accounts that aren't tied to tax benefits.

    Oh...for the record that unemployment rate went skyrocketing when Bush was still in office...because of what Bush did. The two largest contributors to the deficit are the Bush tax cuts and the unfunded wars started under Bush. Those are FACTS. Romney still lives for the so-called job creators, although they haven't created any jobs after ten years of those tax cuts. It's like clinging to the rails of the Titanic, claiming the ship is unsinkable. Mitt, your ideas just don't float!

    July 9, 2012 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  5. edward smith

    Who cares about these demonstrators? Bet they are either Obama workers or union. Would you expect anything else?

    July 9, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  6. Patrick Lewis

    The amount of money going into these races, especially with all that we COULD be spending it on, is staggering. Why are the Koch brothers and their ilk spending money on this instead of CREATING JOBS LIKE WE THOUGHT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING AND GETTING MITT ROMNEY A JOB DOESN'T COUNT!

    July 9, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  7. Kate

    Alexithymic Mitt thinks protesting is a "distraction"? But not when the Right Wingers do it, right? The Kochs have Mitt "for sale!"

    July 9, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  8. luckjoe

    Just curious, how many millions have Obama's Hollywood followers have shelled out to keep him in office.

    July 9, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  9. jaydee

    This election will be bought and paid for by big business. Shameful.

    July 9, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  10. njbchicago

    Where were these people back in 2008 when Obama's rich donors were plowing money into his campaign????????? I guess they are protesting because those people aren't ponying up this time around like they did last. Could it be due to disappointment???????

    July 9, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  11. aesculapius

    liberals are so annoying. they love protesting, it's like none of them have jobs. if any conservatives get together for a protest they yell and scream and belittle the group... it's like a virus

    July 9, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  12. ppppuuuuuu

    i am glad they are spending millions, they are going to lose, Obama is going to win, because he has, "Right",
    on his side. So Koch heads, spend that money baby, because that is going to hurt you the most, because you
    live and breathe the money, you worship it, so it will really tear you up, when romney loses and you lost all that money.

    July 9, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  13. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    Romney the clown is probably sighing another pledge to the kroch bros to screw the middle class like he did with rover nitwitquest,the crook lobbyist.let's screw them instead in Nov ,Obama ,four more years !!!

    July 9, 2012 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  14. Ed1

    Stop crying and go out and get a life.

    Look at the millions Obama gets from the so called 1% don't see you protesting there.

    If you think spending will change my mind on who I will vote for then you have shallow minds and don't have a clue of what Obama is doing to this country. Obama can only spend money that's not his and doesn't seem to care as long as he gets what he wants. Obama will only enforce the laws that will win votes for him and I thought he took an oath to uphold all the laws not just have the power to pick the laws he wants enforced.

    We can't afford another four years with Obama running this country into the ground.

    July 9, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  15. Rolf Olson

    "Free speech area"?? – How about having the entire country be a Free speech area!!

    July 9, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  16. AmesIA

    What has our country come to when there are "free speech zones"? Will city planning departments also specify life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness zones? This post Bush/Cheney world where freedom is dolled out by those deemed worth sickens me.

    July 9, 2012 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  17. riamb60

    People in the Hamptons are fed up with the " uber rich" buying up large properties and build monster "faux castles ".
    The same people are the ones who pump millions of dollars into the Presidential campaign, disturbing a peaceful place it once was .

    July 9, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  18. DFZ

    The only jobs Romney cas EVER created are in China, India & Mexico!

    July 9, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  19. JimB

    Could the media look at the possible foreign money in the GOP Super Pacs? McCain has expressed concern and I believe this should become a major campaign issue. Romney certainly bought the GOP nomination. Now he is trying to buy the presidency. Citizens United decision is definitely jeopardizing our democracy. A vote in Congress on this issue will be fillibustered by McConnell and the GOP. Why is the media so weak on the GOP on this issue? The corporate world is buying Romney and they will own him, i.e., more taxt cuts for the rich.

    July 9, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  20. Dan

    Yet they have no probem with big money donors to Obama. Why has CNN not covered Obama's financing from the same angle?

    July 9, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  21. Demsuck

    Funny how the hippy Dems don't like the amount of money that this one guy is putting into the election, but don't take into account the amount of money that Hollywood stars put into the pockets of Obama.....hypocrites

    July 9, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  22. DG

    Koch, Romney, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and all their Republicon cohorts are all that is wrong with our precious country and our democracy.

    July 9, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  23. zanny

    A new ugly four letter word-Koch. If Romney wins, here are 2 brothers who will have a large part in buying this electionThey are also major backers in the campaign to suppress voters and get rid of labor unions and their right to bargain. We are going backwards with these 2 we are heading back to the 50's and farther back when labor unions had no real power and blacks could not vote. I hope the American voter realizes where these two men and others like them are leading this country.Maybe they could take their billions they are spending on campaigns and create jobs, bring back those jobs they outsourced, and help our country get back on its feet from the path they helped create when our economy almost collapsed. Don't let let the Koch brothers and other billionaires destroy democracy buy actually buying an election. If you doubt what I am saying you only have to look at the primaries and how everytime any other candidate pulled ahead, millions of dollars in negative add campaigns flooded the airways.

    July 9, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  24. Bob B

    Reform our tax code, what a joke that is.

    July 9, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  25. uhoh

    Wonder if the security was Blackwater????

    July 9, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
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