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. cyg

    Hey Romney, are we all going to get houses in the Hamptons if you are voted in? No? Oh.

    July 8, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Just a Thought

    Its hilarious to see the warts all over these greedy sleeze balls. Now where are the neanderthals of supporters? Its Obama's fault...yeah right !

    July 8, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. Andrew

    A distraction from the left to hide Obama's record? Wow , Romeny do you have a brain? Do you not live in the reality that the 99% live? Come on , what deflection .. Your ignorance is starting to spew freely from your mouth. I'm so sick of these incompetent political individuals who will hide , change the subject, avoid the real issues people want to talk about. Romeny can't keep misdirecting the conversation for to long, once the debates come he'll look like a whining child with not one original idea or solution. If I hear another politician say " lower taxes for the rich will create jobs or help the economy
    " I'll go crazy. Jobs are created from demand by consumers and small businesses for products and services, but if the middle class and small businesses have no money now, they'll have less if the rich continue to keep more and spend less.

    July 8, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. mikle

    They talk about Koch money. Where was there in 2008 when Obama got for his campaign. Why they not takl about Obama achievement? Reason-nothing to talk about. Obama future– Bush,Bush. I,m sure He will blame Bush all the time. I feel like Bush still President.

    July 8, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  5. Mike

    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..I guess nothing lasts fpr ever. Romney can be bought for much less he hasnt a mortal bone in his body he will say and do ANYTHING to get elected!

    July 8, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Marc

    "Under this president, unemployment has risen to 8.2%"? What the hell kind of math is that? Unemployment was as high as 10% after the financial meltdown (the product of extreme deregulation forwarded by Conservative economic policy). From 10% to 8.2%. How does that mean that "unemployment has risen"? A blatant lie.

    July 8, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Dale

    "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."
    President Obama was bought out by George Soros, Cloward– Piven, and others on the left, so fair is fair.

    July 8, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. JustSaying2U

    "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.”

    In other words, let's go back to the Bush policies which got us into this mess, in the first place, that Pres. Obama is not gettting us out of quick enough...

    July 8, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. 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

    July 8, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Sirned

    Millions of us support this protest.....

    July 8, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. philip

    Why would we be adding jobs when the CEO's of corporate America are outsourcing American Jobs. The CEO's put more money in their own pockets, support lower taxes on themselves, of course, while still trying to sell trickle down economics. They claim if we keep their taxes low they will start hiring while continuing to send jobs overseas.

    July 8, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  12. artraveler

    Romney won't admit that his rich friends are trying to buy him 4 years at 1600 Penn Avenue. Anytime one person or a family spends $30-100 million top basically create negative and frequently llying ads, there is a propblem with the country. If we want an aristocracy, we would have stayed with the British-much better class of people!

    July 8, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. judith

    I'd have loved to join these protesters. Mitt kissing up to the Kochs. He can raise millions but Obama will trounce him.

    July 8, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Theend

    Offshore and Swiss banks accounts, political fund raisers in the Hamptons, Republican donors driving Mercedes, Bentleys and a candy red 2013 Ferrari Spider... What is wrong with this picture?

    July 8, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. 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?

    July 8, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. timz

    After eight disastrous years of Bush/Cheney, "three and a half disappointing years" of Obama, though disappointing, still look pretty good by comparison.

    July 8, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Drake

    If the Koch's are going to donate millions to Romeny I wonder who he will be beholden to if he is elected?

    July 8, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. WeR4freedom

    Looks like Obama is trying to divert attention from his Fast and Furious scandal and the almost 5 Trillion... (yes that's trillion) dollars of national debt in the last 3.5yrs. We need real change this time, not what Obama promised to all democrats and America that he would do. So tired of his failed leadership. Sure he had America's attention with hope and change and it's really given us all less hope and less change in our pockets. I think we all want better and more jobs in America and I will vote for Romney in 2012 and 2016!

    July 8, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Let's face it, the Koch Brothers pumping tons of money into the presidential campaign to support a wealthy Mitt Romney is not the problem! And by the way, the teapublicans blocking every legislature procedure to stall progress in Washington aint the problem either! The problem is the people in this country who continue to add fuel to the fire by supporting these republican candidates who are conspiring to wipe our country off the face of the map! They are the problem!

    July 8, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. ted

    Good. The rich folks want to buy this election with their millions. I though the GOP said if the millionaires get tax breaks, they will create jobs. Idiots. The rich don't give a hoot about jobs for the 99% but the only job they care about is the #1 job in America and they actually think Romney is better for it than Obama. Fat chance.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    July 8, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. Toad

    When is Romney going to talk about his policies and visions for America? He has none! What is his plan to turn the economy around? Romney is a empty suit!

    July 8, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Dale

    Whtas new, he has not earned a pay check in over a decade, lives on investments....what common grounds does he have with me as a comon person.
    What Is Romney Hiding in His Offshore Accounts, Tax Returns, and $100 Million IRA? He is likely pushing the envelope to dodge as much taxes as possible, and who refuses to disclose even basic details about his financial dealings even while asking the American people to trust him with their hard earned tax dollars. Kind of Sneaky and undermining to me.

    July 8, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. Harry From Pa

    Mitt Rmoney will cut jobs by outsourcing them, the whole reason we are in the mess we are in now is because of greed. Those policies still haven't done anything for the middle class. I haven't heard anything to even make me want to seriously look him over. He flip flops more than a fish out of water....

    July 8, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. mommytwice

    anyone in the Republican Party has a Koch problem, since they appear to own the party lock, stock, and barrel.

    July 8, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. indie voter

    His responses sound so robotic. We can't let them buy this election!

    July 8, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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