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. trex reported entering the "gala".were Mercedes, BMW, Lamborgini.............." and one FORGIEN car after another. Can ANYONE tell me just how these FORGIEN BUILT CARS HELP THE gop TRICKLE DOWN THEORY?

    July 9, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Ed1

    Nothing but class warfare thanks Obama for another no leadership skills President.

    July 9, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. LI Native

    I love Long Island and am a native. I am happy to see these protestors marching for a just cause. Mitt Romney is a complete "flip-flopper," nothing more, nothing less. What's more, if Romney were to win the 2012 election, well, all I'd really have to say then is, in case all you have already forgotten the mess GW Bush left after his admin., I can almost guarantee 100%, we'll be in that same financial predicament with Romney & the bloodsucker GOP and Tea Party radicals in charge.

    July 9, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Ed1

    Let me see trex Mercedes made here BMW made here I guess you didn't know that.

    July 9, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. rosaadriana

    Our elections aren't for sale? Yes they are. Where have you been for the past 30 years? You watch, Romney and Koch, Inc. will buy this election and they cut taxes even more for themselves and select friends, ship more jobs overseas, and raise taxes while lowering services for the middle class. Remember, corporations are people my friend.

    July 9, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. TownC

    How come when protesters show up at Romney events "Romney has problems," but when protesters show up at President Obama's events it's some kind of orchestrated conspiracy run by the Romney campaign? Do these protesters show up at Mr. Obama's fundraisers when he gets money from Wall Street or from rich trial lawyers?

    July 9, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. Brook

    Eric in Denver

    Who cares how much somebody spends on an election it is there choice. The hollywood nuts spend 35k a plate to raise money for Obama and it is legit. If the Koch brother spend millions to give to Romney it is a problem? The libs are getting desperate because Obama will be gone in November. George Soros is only spending 2 million come on Ancient Texan. He spends that a day for Obama!!!

    Make no mistake about this.......the Hollywood donote monies to our President, but they are not asking for something in return. They believe in the Presdient but Romey donors Koch and others there is a motive. less regulation,
    less taxes, no clean water and keep the middle class down. They are so weathly they have eveyrthing except the USA and they wants to control our country. If you don't see that, something is wrong. There is a problem because the Kock brother have a motive . You better believe that they really don't care about anything and any body except their own self.
    So when you make a comment like that you need to put on your thinkers caps, and ask youself why is the Kock brothers giving 400 mil to Romey its not because they like him.............and you better believe that they will cash in.

    July 9, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. James

    Mormonism+Judaism+money is a powerful combination.

    July 9, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Ol' Lefty

    Willard just hangin' with his homies.

    July 9, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. family4obama

    Ed1, check your facts, Mercedes and bmw have assembly plants here, 90 percent of the parts are shipped over to avoid tariffs and taxes

    July 9, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Pete

    Wealthy republican donors always give with a price,Koch brothers wanting to get tax breaks,buy state power plants ,etc.Democratic donors Bill Gates,Warren Buffett,George Clooney just want to give back knowing that's how you help people they always have ,they always will,they're not for themselves.Republican donors are always for themselves and their corporations no matter what it takes,they don't like taking a back seat to anyone that's why Citizens United ,a deal made with secret favors given to the republican led SCOTUS did just recently to help their cause..But their cause may just backfire because Romneys donors giving millions is only considered one vote,the incumbents organization is stronger getting millions from small donors,that equates to millions of votes that will be more powerful than any one millionairs donation can give,with not wanting anything in return,just our liberties and rights,something these republicans have tried to take away since the beginning from us,the American citizen...

    July 9, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. cj1

    People need to stop being so nieve and look at the facts. We need someone who has the brains to put this country back on track. Its a shame that most of thepeople who read theses stories are too influenced by the media itself and dont focus on what matters the most.

    July 9, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. More Tape Please

    Aha – I see Ed1 has all of the facts here. Please everyone – let Ed1 enlighten us with the facts.

    July 9, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. OPEN400

    Everbody knows Romeny is trying to buy the election and use voter suppression tatics in the swing states to win. If Romney wins and attempts to implement the Paul Ryan budget, the country will becvome ungovernable. I would rather have a weak recovery than return to the social turmoil of 1968.

    July 9, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Lee Tutt

    The GOP are pulling out stops to ensure they wins this fall Presidental race, Putting more and more money into Mitt Rommey war chest to buy the White House. Money is not what this election is about it's whom the people feel that would do the right for all, not just thr rich

    July 9, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    OPEN400 - If Romney wins and attempts to implement the Paul Ryan budget, the country will becvome ungovernable. I would rather have a weak recovery than return to the social turmoil of 1968.
    So the country living within its means and over spending a trillion a year will make it ungovernable and throw it into social turmoil?? Why?? Because people are so dependent on government handouts that others have to pay for? Do you think the current situation can go on forever? People need to get real and start taking responsibility for their OWN lives.

    July 9, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    What a lovely symbolic moment to encapsulate the essence of Mitt, who knows full well his only path is to flat-out BUY HIS WAY into the White House. He will fail, although BIG MONEY will continue to rot Democracy to its core.

    July 9, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |

    Selling failure as success is a tough sell even for the most talented snake oil saleman, right Obama?

    July 9, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Mitt Romney , One company under God , where Cash is King !

    July 9, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  20. Pam from Iowa

    Why is it that MItt Romney has such an aversion to mingling with average Americans?
    Oh, that's right! Cause we dont have 30 million to donate to his "buy me a Presidency" campaign!

    July 9, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Can'tTelltheTruth

    Anyone who thinks Romney and Obama are any different from each other simply have their heads in the sand. Obama was and is Mr. Wall St., which is why his admin is full of them. Wake up you partisans! The more you fight each other over nothing, the more blind you are to the real problems -which is, of course, how they want it.

    July 9, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. Brook

    So the country living within its means and over spending a trillion a year will make it ungovernable and throw it into social turmoil?? Why?? Because people are so dependent on government handouts that others have to pay for? Do you think the current situation can go on forever? People need to get real and start taking responsibility for their OWN li
    Like the Affortable Act bill, which you rep wants to who going to pay for it if they dont have insurance?
    You Rep can say this and that...........I don't know what handouts you are referring to, but no one is asking for an handout. If there is bad weather and its destroy the entire town who you going to call Gov.....oh that's a hand out. The water is not clean who you going to call upon the gov to regulate oop handouts, you work for 50 year and wants your benefits who you going to call oops gov , i can go on and on. There are some people in the US needs help with food, houseing, mostly children. So when you say Gov handouts you need to think about this. If you think the REPS will help once in office think again......People are taking resonsibility for their OWN lives, but don't you say everyone is looking for a handout because they are not.

    July 9, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Anonymous


    Performance pay is a great idea for Congress. Any fair scale would have them all owing us money... lots of money...

    I knew Rep. Henry B. Gonzales (deceased) and had a chance to visit with him on occasion while we waited for the "red-eye" to D.C. When he saw my military uniform he asked me specific questions about military service – and promptly answered those questions within a few days. He didn't always tell me what I wanted to hear but he told me the truth. "Henry B." was a man of the people who never forgot and never left his roots. He was one of a very few men who wasn't made wealthy by his career in Congress. We need those people now.

    July 9, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Blue

    Mitt just doesn't get it. He still thinks that only the rich will get into heaven. They can buy their way.

    July 9, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Larry L

    Mike is an IDIOT

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

    Mike is correct. Ours is the oldest "existing" democracy. Can you and your elephants name one that's older?

    July 9, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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