Protesters demonstrate outside of Koch fund-raiser for Romney
July 8th, 2012
06:19 PM ET
10 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, 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. Juan

    A reader here posted "that we used to celebrate wealth"- we do, I have yet to read one article critical of Bill Gates and his wealth- he has done tremendous things to help out fellow man. MItt Romney has done what with his wealth?

    July 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. MM

    The protestors are correct. The Koch brothers want to "BUY" the office of President and the conservative Republicans on the US Supreme Court are making it possible through their disaster "Citizens United" decision allowing that corporations are people & unlimited money can support a candidate. And Romney, he has proven that he takes orders from donors.

    July 9, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  3. PhilG

    Jimm, George Clooney's money can't buy an election. The Koch brothers' money can. It's a disgrace for Romney to be at the Hamptons at the Koch's home. More importantly, what message does it send to the 99%? It's clear what this election is about. And do the Kochs want something in return? You bet.

    July 9, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. mamacho

    The amounts of money raised by both candidates is obscene. I wonder what "favors" will be granted in exchange for the donations? I would much rather see this money donated to improve the lives of people...rather than donated to politicians to encourage nothing more than the donors' own self-interests. I don't care what side you support, this is beyond crazy. If we, as citizens and voters, don't stop this and demand campaign finance reform, we can kiss democracy good-bye.

    July 9, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. ge

    with people like romney and the koch brothers,stealing peoples pensions and health care and putting them out off work is a board game,there just having fun

    July 9, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. MIttens

    My principles are not for sale! I have no principles to sell.

    July 9, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Billy, NYC

    Until the Supreme Court overturns the Citizens United decision and stop allowing corporations to buy elections, there is NO democracy in this country at all.

    July 9, 2012 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. enuff

    Once again, his event was "closed to reporters"... what is so secretive that he is not open about anything. He can't close off repoeters if he is elected. He also allegedly said that he is not concerned about the wealthy... he wants to make sure none of them become poor. What is up with that?

    July 9, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. Ferret out the BS

    Our Democracy is going away after only a little over 200 years, go figure the Republicans would be the ones to do it in and of course under the guise of freedom. Our country is heading towards a theocracital dictatorship run by the wealthy for the wealthy.

    July 9, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. JP

    They should swing by George Soros' mansion(s) too.

    July 9, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Ronald

    It is no longer an election by the people it is an election by the rich. The best President money can buy!

    July 9, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Mary

    Good for the protestors! Let us know how we can help them. We need to tell the Koch brothers the office of the president is "not for sale". Don't insult our intelligence by comparing Koch brothers to Bill Gates or George Clooney. Read up all three of them and see where the differ.

    July 9, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    obama is a loser

    I know CNN is bias and wont print this but obama lies and thats all he can do because obama cannot stand on his pathertice reccord

    And this ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ is why it is imperative to vote out the GOP who keep wanting to defund education and keep dumbing down America. Wow. I'll keep the list simple in a quick bumper sticker slogan for you: Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive thanks to President Obama.

    July 9, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. grahame rhodes

    So art imitates life, and so it goes. Mitt Romney was, is now, and always will be the 'Manchurian Candidate' they don't call it filthy money for nothing

    July 9, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  15. Sniffit

    Indeed. And how about you publish some of th equotes from the hoity-toities that attended Deputy Doublethink's event? Hmmmm? Other MSM sites have been posting what some of the guests had to say. A more clueless, privileged, arrogant group of plutocrats you won't find. I think my favorite was the one who talked about the "common folk" and essentially saud that "they don't understand hwo it all works, how our systems work, so they're clueless and voting for the wrong person." It basically comes down to this: "The Rich Man's Burden." THAT is what they think of everyone who isn't in the 1% or above....the "unwashed masses" who are confused and wayward and disobedient and must be parented by the wealthy to help them understand and survive. Disgusting.

    July 9, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  16. Peace

    Koch brothers should save their money. They better ask McCain what he noticed in a bundle of Tax Returns Romney produced to him in 2008 for VP pick. Once these information are put publicly, all the money contributed will end up in vain and not produce the anticipated outcome!

    July 9, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  17. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Mary Wright

    Ya know, you just don't see Romney supporters behaving this way. Just saying. Occupy leftovers...turned out by Obama's team. And you have the "audacity" to headline it "trending"...Your bias is oh, so apparent. Ever wonder why CNN ratings are in he dump?

    Well Mary (Wrong) you see Willard supporters do their "business" trying to shout down Obama rallies and have the class to drive around said rallies in Willard's bus honking the horn. Willard's cronies stoop to juvenile tactics. Thanks for playing though.

    July 9, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  18. Larry L

    @Out Of Touch with reality

    must be the obamanites that DOPNT WORK and suck us dry with there welfare antics, Get A Job and quit sucking America dry
    The "red states" continue to be much more of a drain on federal funds than the "blue states". They take in far more than they give back in taxes and productivity. They also support programs making it hard for people to break the cycle of poverty – and the overt racism doesn't help. Maybe you should get your house in order.

    July 9, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. phoenix86

    What chumps these protestors are. Obama raises an equal amount from Hollywood and Soros and they remain silent. They are left fringe fodder, that's all.

    July 9, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. Dave

    Another bogus CNN article. Amazing how biased they are in how they treat the GOP vs. Obama. Why don't you report the real news instead of manufactured protests – like debt and unemployment? Give me a break!

    July 9, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. PHIL TJ

    The ways thing go in USA is amazing. I think anybody can rules the US if he has the mony. Se how GOP and Ronmey are already buying the presidency. You guys are tossed. How can you guys even tell other countries are less democratic when this kind of money buying election is being watch worldwide. GB lest white house in chaos, obama is cleaning in the first term. Thing will be better in 2nd term. Give him the chance. He has a good characer, that is the quality of any president, not somebody who has lot of money. Who tells you Mitt will get your attention. Take care of your self

    July 9, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  22. The Right Left

    Romney for sale?? What a novel idea.

    July 9, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. Mike is an IDIOT

    Mike's comment

    "our democracy has already been sold to the highest bidder and the Kochs are certainly two of them..its a complete disgrace to the oldest democracy in the world.."

    Mike democracy is over 2000 years old, how about America? Oh, 250 years, yes the oldest democracy, sure – and pink elephants fly airplanes...

    July 9, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. escher7

    I have never seen an election where a Republican candidate who is basically unqualified has attempted to buy an election so obviously. And as this protest shows, the candidate is only part of the problem. The others are the puppet masters. If Romney had any character he would say to these money men "No thanks" and then try and stick to some sensible budget.

    July 9, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Larry L


    It's meaningless to blame either Koch brothers or Romney. It's also pointless to blame Obama for his fundraisers. They are only doing what is required to get elected in this day and age. The only way to prevent this is to completely eliminate money from the process by having federally funded elections. Every candidate gets the same amount, advertising is banned, and the American electorate must watch debates to judge each candidate for themselves.
    Great idea Jean! I'd add an on-line referendum vote on the debate questions (written with no wiggle-room) and an "instant" fact-check of statements and answers given by candidates. We could run the results of the fact-check across the screen and towards the end of each debate candidates would be asked to briefly explain their previous statement or statistic. The following day all of the narrative (and fact-checking) would be published in newspapers across the country.

    July 9, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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