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. Right on

    200 protesters of free speech may be equivalent to $200 according to Citizens United Supreme Court Case. Corporations are donating hundreds of millions of money as free speech to these political super Pacs. Corporate super pac money that is contributed will not have to obtain approval from company share holders.
    Conservatives may say that it is fair since American Unions are able to contribute to super Pacs. But this is not true since Unions have to abide by other laws that donating money to political organizations have to be approved by a Union Membership vote.

    July 8, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  2. jack878

    "We're here because of David Koch and his vow to purchase a president,” I didn't know the unions and trial lawyers were selling the presidency they currently own.

    July 8, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  3. Greekj

    If the Swiss or Cayman Island or Bermuda froze Romney's money would that jeopardize the U.S. if he was president? Is he more loyal to his wealth or this country? Romney/Cheney for 2012; bring back the good old Cheney/ Bush days!

    July 8, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  4. Corey

    I love the hypocrisy in REPUBLICANS trying to call someone out for not proposing any new ideas to fix things, the economy for otherwise.

    Their stated goal has been the obstruction of this presidency since day one, to deliberately sabotage and cripple it no matter what the cost to the American people. And it HAS cost us, make no mistake.

    July 8, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. joe

    No tax returns = No presidency

    July 8, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  6. The Film Professor

    Good! Thank you to the protestors for shining a light on this disgusting attempt by these billionaires to buy the election for Romney. Some estimates have them spending as much as 400 Million Dollars on negative campaign ads for Romney. That is DESPICABLE. Some of the Repubs characterize this as "free speech" - are you kidding me? This is corruption of the highest magnitude - no one spends that kind of money without absolutely expecting a LOT in return, including keeping the tax breaks for billionaires in place that allow them to make this kind of contribution.

    July 8, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  7. AF

    Romney with his Billionaire don't want Middle class breath, have access to health care.

    July 8, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  8. Dave

    These guys need to get a job. Oh wait, they are on Obama's 40 month unemployment payment plan.

    July 8, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  9. trashcup

    Mitt and his 1 percenter buddies. When's he going to get out of the bus, get out of the Hamptons, get off his estate in New Hampshire and come down to visit the bottom of the 99 percenters? When will I see him walk among the poor people of America? When is he going to get off his high horse and actually listen to these people???? What is he afraid of???

    July 8, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  10. Wendy

    Mitt Romney is a disgrace! He would sell his soul or has already to be president.
    OBAMA 2012!

    July 8, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. PHIL TJ

    You all Americans, Your democray is already on sale, you no longer cannot be a model to the rest of the world.

    July 8, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  12. Bob Luedke

    Leftist, uneducated and brain washed anal apitures are bound to prove how stupid and uninformed they are! Give them another joint, sniff or shot in the arm and they will disappear!

    July 8, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  13. JerseyGirl

    I am glad about this! Good for them! Keep this up, the 1 percenters think this election can be bought, but they have another thing coming!

    July 8, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. 3rd Party Now

    I know some of the people who were there. They are not liberals or "part of the left". They are sick of government as a whole and the corruptive influence of money.

    July 8, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Mittens loves to hang with his monumentally wealthy friends in the Hamptons. He really is out of touch with the middle class. He just wants the $$$$$.

    July 8, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  16. 333maxwell

    I can only imagine the look of fear that would be on Luvy and Thurston's faces had those 'commoners' made it into the actual neighboorhood.

    July 8, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    The protesters are "diverting attention from Obama's record??!!" Gimme a break....... the Koch brothers are buying the presidency plain and simple! And what DO THEY WANT IN RETURN FOR THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THEY ARE CONTRIBUTING TO ROMNEY'S CAMPAIGN????? Listen up America....democracy is going to the highest bidder!

    July 8, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  18. RT

    Wow–great banner slogan! Double entendre for sure!

    July 8, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  19. ejktexas

    They should protest. I'm tired of elections being bought and having candidates shoved in our face with PAC ads and 12 months of being told who to vote for. but they should also protest the Obama fundraisers, and then go cast a protest vote for a 3rd party candidate. Time to send the message that our votes aren't for sale- and the MSM needs to stop playing along.

    July 8, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Me

    Hahahaaa!! "Under this President, unemployment has risen to 8.2%"

    Actually it should read "Under this President, unemployment has FALLEN to 8.2%"....

    July 8, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Let’s take a good look at what Willard’s GOP spokesman said:

    "After three and a half disappointing years in office, President Obama and his liberal allies [here, Gorka is referring to the middle-class, the elderly, the uninsured, teachers, firemen, policemen, union members, the unemployed who lost their jobs through Romney’s outsourcing program – yeah, these people are liberals, and proud too] are desperate [using their right to free speech] to divert attention [Mitty boy is the poster child for diverting attention away from his off-shore bank accounts, his healthcare plan he wrote for Massachusetts, and the model of the Affordable Health Care Act, and every other story he continuously flip-flops on daily] from his broken promises (Hmmmm . . . let’s see . . . Obama killed bin Laden, is bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, ended the unnecessary endless Iraq War, passed universal health care – with the Chief Justice’s 100% agreement, saved the U.S. auto industry from complete failure and bankruptcy, whom already paid back the loan and is now creating more jobs than the past 10 years saw, saved us from a deep depression by wisely spending dollars as all notable economists have proven for nearly 100 years works like a charm (get Paul Krugman’s book for yourself and see)] and failed record [passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for all women, out-drilled the Bush administration in record oil well in the U.S. thereby increasing oil production] ," 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 [Obama compromised with the GOP so much that he nearly lost all Democratic support for caving in, and for 3 ½ years begged on national TV to get Congress to act now on his progressive ideas, which were many, but they said their goal was to “make Obama a one-term President”, not someone who fought like David against Goliath for all Americans] that can turn around our economy. As President, Mitt Romney will reform our tax code [How? He already pays less than 15%, which is less than the middle-class pays; he also is addicted to tax loop holes and has 130 off-shore bank accounts to prove it], cut bloated government spending [Nobel Prize Economist Paul Krugman says that America is losing one trillion dollars a year in manufacturing which we will never get back because Congress refuses to work with Obama and increase government spending {investment) and promote pro-growth policies that will create jobs [No. That create fortunes for the very rich] for middle class families [Wow. Willard says he loves firing people and he has a strong track record for crushing American companies and shipping jobs overseas. Romney hangs around with NASCAR team owners and the Koch Brothers and he enlisted in the Mormon Church’s Coward Program during the Vietnam War and hid in France while over 50,000 American soldiers gave their middle-class lives for their country. Romney was hiding in someone else’s country and ran like a BIG YELLOW CHICKEN COWARD!] ”

    No thanks, Romney. America does not care for your kind and we will prove it this November.

    July 8, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  22. Mm

    "Mitt Romney Has A Koch Problem"........It is all making sense now.

    July 8, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. PADoc1

    Just watched the weekly episode of "Newsroom" 0n HBO. I'd make it required viewing so as to better understand the Kochs and the entire Righ Wing Agenda.

    July 8, 2012 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  24. Don

    Wow, 20 people show up and this is news worthy?

    July 8, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  25. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    A very clear majority of registered voters HATE Romney's guts. Romney can raise all the Koch brother's cash he can hide but he cannot buy our alligience. Willard will return to La Jolla in November and lie down on his stuffed matress loaded with the millions in stolen pensions he managed to rip off while with Bain Capital. He will then laugh to himself and say, "I'm fine. I had fun playing my little game I called 'Running for President.' Now I can stop running from my record and get away from all those annoying reporters who ask way too many persoanl question."

    July 8, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
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