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. Pat

    Romney needs to get his facts straight. The unemployment has dropped from 10 to 8.2%. The economy will not be fixed in 4 years. The great depression was finally resolved in 1938 (1929 – 1938, that's 9 years). To expect a fast turnaround for our economy is unrealistic. At least Obama has policies Romney keeps evading the question: What are your specific policies. "Reform our tax code": How? For who? How much will the affected party receive. "Government spending": Didn't government spending get us out for two previous depressions.....? "Promote pro-growth policies that will create jobs for middle class families": And some specifics regarding those policies are what? Will that be around minimum wage job, $8-9? So cutting government spending (cut spending = cut jobs) and then trying to create jobs with no capital.... so the burden is placed on the private sector..... Something doesn't seem right here.

    And don't believe a $10 million donation doesn't buy any considerations from Romney or Obama. All politicians suck up to the rich. How else are they supposed to run their multi-million dollar campaigns.

    July 8, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. roy

    This whole election will probably be fixed lile it was with Bush Jr being appointed by the supreme court to president for hia first term in office.

    July 8, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. William

    The Koch brothers think that they own this country, and when it comes to political contributions, they damn well do!

    July 8, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. CRAIG

    If Romney wins, God forbid, he'll merely be a puppet of the likes of the Koch brothers and other diabolical figures who will actually control America and our lives further widening the gap between the rich & poor while eliminating the middle class altogether. That's the plan you know.

    July 8, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. Scott

    Yes I agree the super Rich can buy the president office, The Supreme Court allows them to do this and hopefully someday they will take another look at what they have done to destroy America!. Off shore accounts, questionable government influence from our not so friendly neighbors are all in play right now to put Mitt in office, It make you wander just how long will America Survive They say Obama is bad for America but how can he fix the mess that took 8 years to make under BUSH, And again Bush approved the Bail-out before Obama went into office.

    July 8, 2012 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Laura, Boston

    Are these same protestors going to go to George Clooney's home or any other millionaires home to protest? Remember 2008 when Obama promised to use campaign refinancing? Hypocrites!

    July 8, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Larry L

    A Nation like the United States simply can't have a President shoved down our throats by a few billionaires. Hopefully, we're still smart enough to know when we're being deceived by false ads and right-wing spin doctors. The Koch brothers do nothing for free and their approach to government is simply corporate fascism. They want control and will use and discard the working class if they're given control. Romney has been bought and paid for by these fascists.

    July 8, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. Retired Army

    Mitt Romney......bought and paid for buy the Kochs.......

    July 8, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Jsd

    Peaceful protest. Don't agree with their views but, they get a huge thumbs up with how they did it. We all have a right to be heard.

    July 8, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. arun

    hey Mitt, same old shpeal. what exactly would you do to fix things Oh, I forgot, NOTHING!!!

    July 8, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. LIP

    wow...thanks CNN for being right there to report that 200...let me say that again...200 people were running around on the beach carrying a banner that had a clever phrase on it. At least he wasn't a pot head like someone else we know.

    July 8, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. Ed

    Why is it ok for Obama to fundraise with the rich and famous, but not Romney? Can anyone explain that?

    July 8, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Phil Thomas

    Epic these guys blame Obama for the protests ? I'm waiting for some policy, some idea for what thier plan is, i'm starting to think these protesters have a point Jeez. Look give us some policy, some direction, blaming everything on the president is crazy when Congress has a lot of say, supreme court but its like that Mohamed Ali Ropa Dope Game these guys are playing. I guess we can blame the President for the Heatwave as well right ?

    July 8, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. Greg

    What a shocker, Rommney with his rich buddies. Yea he know's what the poor and middle class are going throught. And the moon is made of cheese Mitt!!!!!

    July 8, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. obamaouttathere2012

    The only things these people are demonstrating is that they think they are above the law. Koch has the leagal right to give as much as he wants to romney, and these people think that is wrong. they should and do have the right to organize and protest, but that does not mean they should.

    July 8, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  16. Bimshire22

    Since "Citizens United" the entire country is for sale to the highest bidder. There was a time we were a respected nation, those days are long gone. Any country and any company can contribute enough to own our politicians. The Koch brothers controls Governors and the White House is next.

    July 8, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. lib

    these folks don't represent President obama, They are not Dems

    July 8, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Dubhly

    you know what im sick of hearing? how successful romney is at business. If the government was meant to be a business it would have been formed like a business and designated one by the founding fathers. Its not, its a government. it is not supposed to be profitable, it is supposed to do what NEEDS to be done for its people. I for one do NOT want to see a business man anywhere near the White House, all that means is that we no longer have a free country for everyone, but a free country for business/corporations to run over the worker. Let Romney be successful at business, and stay a CEO.

    July 8, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. cali ha ha

    Vote out all republican out of the house. Fire boner. That will wake them up.

    July 8, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. champ

    Yes, this Election IS for sale, a product offered by the Surpreme Court!

    July 8, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. LOL in Colorado

    Romney and his gang (including Koch Bros) have no intention of doing anything right for 99%'ers. They will lie and buy there way into the White House and then make the 1%'ers so much more wealthy that American democracy as we know it now will be no more. The middle class will be no more and Corporate America will own the world. Thanks to the ignorance and vulnerability of most republicans (Tea Party, etc), they will have sold America to the world and this country will no longer represent the land of the free and the brave.

    July 8, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Tom

    Willard Romney is in the pocket of big money, he is simply a stooge.

    July 8, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. Liz the First

    I hope every non-right wingnut knows the Koch brothers own Stainmaster carpet, Brawny paper towels, Dixie products, and Georgia Pacific and stop buying these brands unless they want their money going to fund the right wingnuts destroying this country. these Bond villians are trying to buy our democracy. only way to stop them is to stop buying what they're selling.

    July 8, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Charlie from the North

    The Supreme Court was wrong to declare corporations are people and money to be speech. They have not yet declared dollars to be votes. They are only one or two Romney appointees from making that mistake so before they do let's reflect a moment on what that would mean and vote to stop it.

    July 8, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  25. Ancient Texan

    Only George Soros and Unions are allowed to donate to political candidates?

    July 8, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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