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. Sniffit

    "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."

    The only fodder I see are living in trailer parks in rural red states voting for the people who put them there as a result of religion, racism and reaganomics.

    July 9, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. A

    What I believe people do not realize is that one person can not change the world in four years and expect it to function accordingly moving forward. All these politicians have their own ideas and don't want to follow through on even the tiniest change the previous government has made or accomplished. They want their OWN change just to prove they were smarter. WELL THEY ARE NOT! This is why we are in a world of hurt and it will only continue. The rich get richer and the poorer get poorer. The unfortunate thing is that our politicians believe that by bashing the opposite side, tax returns, mega rally money, birth certificates and the list goes on they can buy votes. Sorry, I do not vote that way. Even if I had $2000.00 to spend for a plate of catered food I'd rather repaint my living room.

    July 9, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. The Contentious Otter

    Obama's tax plan: Maintain the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 per year – that's 98% of the American public that will still pay the same tax rate under Barack Obama.

    Mitt Romney's tax plan: eliminate the estate and capital gains tax so that Mitt and his yacht club buddies will pay basically no taxes at all, while increasing taxes on 98% of the American people by eliminating the 1040 Standard Deduction, eliminating the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for primary residences (but he wants to make sure he keeps it on second and third homes so his wealthy pals don't suffer), eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit, eliminate HEAP so poor rural families can freeze in the winter and eliminate the Student Loan Interest Deduction so recent college graduates can have an even harder time making ends meet.

    Mitt Romney's tax plan is WRONG for America.

    July 9, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. tv22

    Ah, class envy is wonderful isn't it? Here's a thought, why don't these people who are so envious of the rich take the time they put into silly protests and dedicate it toward building a business?

    July 9, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "Another bogus CNN article. Amazing how biased they are in how they treat the GOP vs. Obama."

    CNN's editors are doing you a HUGE favor by distracting the "masses" from the quotes from the insanely wealthy people attending the event. Those qutoes are damning. Now, thank CNN for sweeping it under the rug. Go ahead...use your manners.

    July 9, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Ryan

    @Juan- I'm not a big Romney fan, but your post suggests that Romney is OBLIGATED to help fellow man with his wealth. While that may be something admirable, and yes Bill Gates has done great things, the problem is that we feel as a society that people like Romney OWE US something because THEY ARE rich. It's an entitlement ideology and it's disgusting. It's like OWS protesters who complain they can't get jobs and have no money, yet they majored in art dance therapy or something like that, but they believe society OWES them something....simply, well, because their owed it. If a man is a millionaire and wants to donate...great, thank you. If he doesn't, and wants to keep his money to be it, it's HIS money, and he doesn't OWE it to anyone.

    July 9, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. Ryan

    I don't know why everyone is so mad about this. The Dominos pizza people are donating big bucks to Obama. Is it "unfair" because Romney has people with MORE money? Who do we blame for that? Romney for having big $$ supporters or Obama for not having AS MANY big $$ supporters? The Obama campaign first denounced the Super PACs, and then jumped on board with accepting money from them. You can't have you're cake and eat it too.

    July 9, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. Alois

    Here we go, another loser obama funded protest.Crackhead obama don't like it when he gets beat at his own game.

    July 9, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. pprty

    Republican company heads are not going to put people to work, they choose to use their money to pay for Romney!!
    Reveals much about what they are!

    July 9, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Larry L

    @Roberto Jordan

    As an independent thinker and voter I am simply disgusted with the double standards and hypocrisy that fills our political landscape.
    Roberto you need to more of that independent thinking... The campaigns of both candidates are supported by some number of wealthy people – but the Republicans clearly depend on that top 1% and the average contribution per person is far, far higher. They run a fat-cat operation and use social conservatives by introducing hot-button issues to fire them up. Another huge consideration is motive. What do they expect in return? When the Koch brother contribute 400 million dollars they expect a return in environmental neglect (paper mills etc.), sweetheart contracts, and tax loopholes. What does a movie star get? It's really not a double standard – not even close.

    July 9, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. flatbushfred

    I'm disappointed in Obama – I think he made a number of mistakes in his first term. BUT, the idea that a President of the United States can be purchased by some uber-wealthy people is downright frightening.

    July 9, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. wfn94

    Hundreds of millions available for campaign donations. But sweet Lord have a heart and don't raise the tax rate for our extremely wealthy job creators!

    July 9, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. CBR

    The ability for these extremely wealthy people to donate to PACs surround either candidate is wrong. The law may be on their side because the Supreme Court said they could but the American people are realizing that these PACs want to buy this election. Mitt Romney is tying himself to these groups. He has not made any remarks asking that they become public thus they remain so mysterious. Unfortunately, Romney wants their support and money even if it means he is beholden to them. No matter how wealthy you are, you still can be influenced.

    July 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Larry L


    "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,"-
    "After 8 years in office, President Bush and his right-wing, corporate thugs left behind two wars and the worst recession in thirty years. Then the Republicans in Congress obstructed all progress to prevent a recovery. Mission Accomplished!"

    July 9, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. airbornevet

    Wow, people think Obama raises just as much as Romney? Are you kidding? Are you out of your mind? Last month Romney pulled in 100 million, it is on pace to out raise Obama by 3 to 1. Republicans best political moves were to crash the economy and then pass the bill saying corporations are people.

    Yes, Obama has more donations, but they are small donations while Romney's are large and effectively wipeout the voice of democracy. If you think Obama raises just as much as Romney, you are out of your mind and dead wrong. Seriously, your view of reality is wrong.

    July 9, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Larry L


    Why is it ok for Obama to fundraise with the rich and famous, but not Romney? Can anyone explain that?
    A movie star will not expect specific tax loopholes for his industry, environmental exceptions for his pollutants, or sweetheart, no-bid government contracts like we saw given Halliburton during the Bush/Cheney debacle. Movie stars support ideology like human rights, The Koch brothers are also supporters of a very specific ideology – a type of corporate fascism where a very few billionaires control our government. That's the difference.

    July 9, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Juan asked what has Mitt Romney done with his wealth? Easy – he has used it to create more wealth. After all, if a guy jokes about getting an elevator put in his wife's garage to make it easier for her to get whatever car she wants to use (Does she drive herself or have a driver?) he sure has no flippin' idea how much a gallon of gas or milk or a loaf of bread costs.

    We, as a people, have not seen this much unbridled spending on an election in over a century, when people like JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller or the VanDerBilts could pretty much buy elections for their candidates of choice. Now, thanks to Citizens United, the bad old days are back again.

    July 9, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Malory Archer


    The amounts of money raised by both candidates is obscene. I wonder what "favors" will be granted in exchange for the donations?


    However, when you factor in that the average Obama donation is $35 and mittens got the bulk of his funding from a handful of billionaires it kinda puts things into perspective.

    July 9, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. Captain Obvious

    "The protesters were assembled in a "free speech area" several blocks down from the Koch property"

    It's nice to see that we still have areas of free speech in this country. We can protest. Just not where the people we're protesting can hear us.

    July 9, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  20. Mor Man NO!

    Lets see CLOSED fundrasier, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm The Morman Church wants to buy the election for Romney. GOP raise $100 + Million and 94% ($24 Million ) was raised by donations of $250.00 by the general public and the GOP is crowing about this? How many people donated the rest you dumb A**'s, $76 Million donated??????

    Jesus Christ is God's beloved Son, however, the Mormans do not believe that, ask a Morman?

    July 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. Mor Man NO!

    Jesus Christ is God's beloved Son, however, the Mormans do not believe that, ask a Morman?

    July 9, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  22. Malory Archer

    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.


    There was a group in the south. Used to wear white sheets with pointy white hats. They used to to to churches and other meeting places where those they believed to be inferior to them congregated and behave much the same way. Sometimes they turned violent. Mittens' low information surrogates appear to be devolving to that.

    July 9, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    used "to go to" churches...

    July 9, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. Larry L

    @Ancient Texan

    Only George Soros and Unions are allowed to donate to political candidates?
    Unions are regulated with specific controls and reporting procedures. The Koch brothers alone plan to contribute 400 million dollars. Soros plans to contribute two million. As another "ancient Texan" I can tell you delusion is not a good way to form opinions. We're controlled by the right-wing oil men here in Texas and as result, taking a nose-dive in every statistical indicator for quality of living – especially in education. We need to stop taking pride in bigoted, narrow-minded decisions and work towards solutions for all of our people – not just those of us fortunate enough to live comfortably.

    July 9, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. GI Joe

    I don't care if romoney and his friends have all the money in the world (I think they do, actually).

    I don't trust mitt. The strings attached to him are becoming more and more clear. Buy him, own the usa.

    July 9, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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