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. fernace

    Romney & his crew promote: obstruction/fillibustering, Citizens United, more tax cuts for the rich, cuts in education, blocking womens healthcare, firing of teachers & emergency service workers, the Ryan budget, continued disenfranchisement of immigrants & gays w/laws that block their civil rights, privatization of SS & Medicare, repealing of Universal health coverage, etc, etc! Obama & crew promote: fair taxes across socio-economic groups, investing in America, healthcare for All Americans, civil rights for all, education, womens rights, regulations for conglomerates, air/water quality & the environment, American innovation & keeping jobs here, working hard & standing up for what you belive is right, in the face of obstruction/opposition, etc! To me this is a slam/dunk! I mean, who stands for the People & who stands for the 1%? Forward–Obama/Biden 2012!!

    July 9, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. JPM

    Imagine they had protested against Obama. They would have been called racist.

    July 9, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. Lenny Pincus

    Some rich Dem socialite renounced her American citizenship so she wouldn't have to pay taxes. Man, that's horrible. Can you imagine a real American taking his/her money and hiding it in foreign countries just to lower his/her tax bill? Horrible, really horrible.

    July 9, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Captain Awesome

    Did these idiots protest the president when he was rubbing elbows with the uber rich in Hollywood? Didn't think so....

    July 9, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Mensaman

    It is a waste of time for anyone to talk of Romney's wealth or Obama's wealth or the rich backers of both campaigns.
    This particular protest hurts Obama because it is not focused on real national issues. It's like complaining about a candidates tie! If Romney commited a crime, that's different, but he's clean and vetted. So is Obama. Both have little skeletons which cancel each other out.
    Obama had better start worrying about this nations fiscal mess. Whatever plan he has isn't working at all. He's going down fast if he doesn't do something.

    July 9, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Can Mitt Romney's economic plan really create jobs? What's Mitt Romney's economic plan? Mitt Romney says in order to create jobs, the following three components must be in play:

    Cut the deficit
    Reduce corporate income tax
    Curb regulatory policies

    Really? So how are these measures really going to lead to job creation?

    When GWB was in office, corporations received extensive tax breaks for eight years and regulatory measures employed by the Obama administration were not in play, yet we ended up in an economic crisis. So what's Mitt Romney talking about?

    And by the way, the GOP has opposed every sensible measure by the Obama administration to reduce the deficit by opposing a tax hile on the wealthy. Instead, the GOP sau cut domestic programs and let the poor and the middle class suffer the consequences of the recession while giving tax breaks to the wealthy. Yet they sa the are for the American people. I doubt it!

    July 9, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. rosie

    We already have a way to keep people out of office, organize enough votes against them. If you fail at that then SHUT OUR MOUTH and wait for the next election.

    July 9, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Jordan N.

    "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."

    That is completely untrue. President Obama has pushed for various measures to help kick-start the economy, but the Republicans in congress refuse to let anything get done, filibustering a record number of times, even holding the nation's credit hostage when it came to the debt ceiling increase, a move that has been shown to have impacted our economic and job growth, in addition to bringing our rating down. It's pretty clear that the Republicans will put themselves first, before the good of the country.

    July 9, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. avdspm

    Why weren't the DEMs also protesting outside of George Clooney's home when he raised millions for Obama?

    July 9, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |

    The USA is a Constiututional REPUBLIC with democratically elected representatives. We are NOT a true democracy where it turns out to be mob rule. Sorry lefties, the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing.

    July 9, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Marlene the Dream

    Most people are missing the point of this demonstration. It's in opposition to one or two people bankrolling a presidential campaign so that they (Kochs) can continue, and increase, their focused power and control over the Republican party. This flies in the face of a democracy. Most fundraisers, i.e. Clooney's, are about raising money for general support from many.

    July 9, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. LoLo

    They are spending billions to elect a puppet and not spending it on America? Wake up people, they are trying to put the devil in the White House. If Romney wins America is screwed big time. This man is not the person to lead America. He has no idea what is going on in the entire world. He is a man of selfishness and greed. His family is well taken care of and he does not care about people who are beneath him. I pray that the rest of the country wakes up and vote to save the UniteDd States from these fat cat crooks known as the good old boys network. President Obama is the only way forward.

    July 9, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. ohgran

    Lenny Pincus said –
    "Can you imagine a real American taking his/her money and hiding it in foreign countries just to lower his/her tax bill? "

    Good question to ask Mitt why he has done the same. Do some homework before you criticize. And BTW, you need to state names and not generalize. Anyone can make unfounded comments.

    July 9, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. curious

    The only power strong enough to control these billionaires is the federal government. The smaller the government's power, the more powerfull the 1% become.

    July 9, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Jim Hahn

    As usual, the Republican$ think they can buy the election and are out to do so. This is what the Citizens United decision has done to our country. Why can't we have full disclosure of ANY campaign contribution and have them traced back to an individual. It's time we passed a law (or a constitution amendment) that says ONLY REGISTERED VOTERS can make campaign contributions.

    No Unions, No corporations, No foreign money of any kind. Only registered voters so their contributions can be tracked. PERIOD.

    July 9, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. macbil

    Let me say here and now, if people like the Koch brothers start running this country from "behind the curtain" and Romney becomes their puppet all those people who complain about Obama are going to be wishing he was President again.

    July 9, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    People weren't protesting outside George Clooney's home simply because the millions Clooney and othert celebrities raised were to support a campaign of policies that are geared toward helping the American people, not a campaign of policies to steam roll the American people and undermine our democracy through treason, division and lies! There's a big difference!

    July 9, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Mack

    First we find out that Mitt has been supporting socialists by hiding his money in swiss banks next we'll probably find out that he's been shipping American jobs to communist China.

    July 9, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    When Obama plans to raise a "billion dollars" out of all these out-of-touch Hollywood celebs – it's cool, unprecedented and amazing. But when Romney outraises him – now its not fair??? C'mon people, cut the double standard here.

    July 9, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Thecentrist11

    @annonymous and @mike

    Performance pay is hard to implement.

    As public servants, I think their annual earnings (inside and out) should be capped at $150000. They should be forced to give everything they make an excess of that to charity. That way, we can avoid a conflict of interest.

    They are, after all, serving the country, not themselves.

    July 9, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. Romney is not My Hero

    I love the banner they are holding... Romney has a "Koch" problem. Brilliant! May I have this in tee-shirt form?

    OBAMA 2012!

    July 9, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Mitt Romney considers himself a corporate executive who possesses the know-how to fix the economy and create jobs! But for two years on the campaign trail we are yet to hear from him how his economic plan would address the millions of retail jobs lost to the recession! Two thirds of the 10 million jobs lost to the recession were in retail and I doubt addressing regulatory measures, deficit reduction or more tax breaks for billionaires would begin to address how we go about getting retail jobs to resurface! Furthermore, I believe those unskilled workers who stack shelves or work in the sales dept are less skilled to work in the technical field where thousands of jobs are available today! That is why I applaud President Obama for including funds in the stimulus package to retrain workers and help them to diversify their skills and learn a trade! I'm afraid Mitt Romney is yet to address job losses in the retail sector!

    July 9, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Hillary

    Great sign--it says it all about what alexithymic Mitt is about.

    July 9, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    ""This isn't about taxing job creators," Obama said. "This is about helping job creators."
    This isn't really about taxing job creators or helping job creators. The problem is, it isn't about economics at all. It's about the politics of envy and striking a note of retribution in these hard times against those Americans who have committed the crime of success. Interesting but pathetic view of his role as President.

    Mitt Romney instead builds his strategies on the premise that all Americans should do better. Isn't this honestly what we should have as an objective?"
    What "strategies"? The only "strategy " Mittens has is to yammer ideological platitudes, generalities and vagaries, refuse to take a position on anything, actually sqitch positions completely on thigns if he gets wind of a poll or two telling him he guessed wrong the first time, provide zero details about his "plans' and "strategies," etc. The man redefines the term "empty suit."

    As for what it's "about"? It's about the deficit and debt and the demand vacuum created by 40 years of GOP/TEatroll daydream economic policy...trickle down fairy tales and deregulatory bubble recessions. At a certain point on the income spectrum, people make enough that they can afford to be taxed slightly more without it hampering their spending, i.e., their contribution to demand. Belwo that point, people would spend less. There's no magic number, but $250K in annual income certainly isn't unreasonable, especially when it's only the $250,001st dollar taxed at the higher rate. The Bush tax cuts can't be repealed whole-hog YET, because a decrease in demand from the middle-class would create a problem with recovery. They can be repealed in part NOW because at a certain cut-off it won't effect demand...but it will provide some increase in revenue to the gov't to start addressing the deficit and debt created by the enactment of that very same tax in the first place.

    July 9, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. wgf

    Citizens United said that cash is a form of speech, and since we all have a right to unlimited free speech, we therefore have a right to donate unlimited cash to elections..

    From Animal Farm: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

    July 9, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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