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. vp

    "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.”

    No he won't.

    He'll repay the Kochs.

    July 9, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  2. EddyL

    Koch boys trying to buy the White House. They already bought the Republicans in Congress.

    July 9, 2012 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. exrepublican

    Romney meets Koch at Koch's house. Is this really happening. Everything about Romney sounds like a story line from an old B-movie where you kinda laugh and squirm at the same time, after each scene. When the movies over, you realize, what a waste of time and money.

    July 9, 2012 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  4. JerPell

    Romney might be in trouble in the Hamptons....
    But Obama is in trouble in America!

    July 9, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  5. The Other Dale

    On, no! A peaceful protest! Glad Romney didn't have to get the police to start shooting at them for being in the area! On, and nice one, Romney – the protest is about you, so it's obviously Obama's fault. Yeah, makes sense. Maybe someone shoudl tell Romney there's an old saying that if you keep trying to throw the spotlight on someone else, people are eventually going to get bored with you and follow the guy in the spotlight. That probably would explain why Romney is beginning to tank in the polls.

    July 9, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  6. CJPA

    Too bad there weren't more protesters, but good for the ones who were there. Inside the Koch compound was Citizens United at work!! Mitt would just be the front man for the Koch brothers' agenda! Very scary indeed!

    July 9, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |

    Mr. Koch, your private security firm can not stop WE THE PEOPLE!!! How can you consider your self an American when your donors are attempting to buy OUR election? That is not democracy.

    July 9, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  8. BH

    Obamabots have a reality problem. Always have, always will.

    July 9, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  9. daveinla

    So Obama does not have wealthy backers? Please. The Hollywood looney tunes and guys like Warren Buffet will make sure Mr. "Change" has all the $$$$$ he needs. There is no Democratic Party for the little guy anymore.

    July 9, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  10. charles

    Koch brothers will destroy America.They want Romney to start wars that's why they are so serious helping him. Pray for USA.

    July 9, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. SMD

    Were these people protesting outside George Clooney's house back in May, when Obama had a $50,00.00 a plate fundraiser?

    July 9, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Peikovianyi

    They are hippie Brownshirts. Romney's civil liberties are being threatened.

    July 9, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  13. dyslexic dog

    and by hijacking religion and the flag, and through its mouthpiece FOX News, the republican party has somehow managed to convince working class americans that they are the solution to working class problems. One of the biggest scams ever pulled in history.

    July 9, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  14. Nick-o

    The sign "Romney has a Koch Problem" is quite witty and funny.

    July 9, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |

    Sorry people but in times like these a job is a job, stop looking to do nothing while sucking off the government. There's a good chance that the economy will get much worse and the government can't help due to the fact that they'll be repaying all the security you already used. When it becomes a work or die situation then we'll see what type of people you are, trying to survive or protesting on a beach. Who cares if you work at McDonalds with a college education, that means you should be able to make a great burger but the odds are you'll suck at that also!!!!!

    July 9, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. gotta love obama's socialist fan club...anarchists, free loaders, looking for 'change'.... like europe.... lol

    maybe these dupes should go and get a job?

    July 9, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. Rafly

    Koch money wont buy my vote.
    Obama-Biden 2012

    July 9, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  18. Mack

    This is what the "job creators"aka corporate welfare queens are doing with their tax cuts; millions of dollars in political bribes...I mean contributions and hording it in overseas accounts.

    July 9, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  19. Jean

    It's meaningless to blame either Koch brothers or Romney. It's also pointless to blame Obama for his fundraisers. They are only doing what is required to get elected in this day and age. The only way to prevent this is to completely eliminate money from the process by having federally funded elections. Every candidate gets the same amount, advertising is banned, and the American electorate must watch debates to judge each candidate for themselves.

    July 9, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  20. Dfacts

    American politics has always been for sale and thanks to the supreme court ruling now even foreigners can now purchase a president. Makes me sick.

    July 9, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  21. ladyfon

    And Hollywood and Unions are trying to buy the election for Obama. Heck Unions steal money right out of workers paychecks to give to left wing politicians.

    July 9, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  22. Meagan

    Craig...that was beautiful... seriously too funny mitts going down with the ship!

    July 9, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. mcwreiole

    I see that there are those of you that are concerned about what influence the Koch brothers might have on a Romney administration. How is it that the idea that George Soros is in touch with the White House every week does not concern you? How is it that you are not concerned that union thugs are the most protected class of people in this administration? How is it that that you are not concerned that an atrocious poor excuse for a human being like Bill Maher is a ONE MILLION dollar contributer to the Obama campaign? How is it that this current president claims "executive privilege" to protect conversations about "fast and furious" with AG Eric Holder. These are the same conversations that the president also claims he never had? How is it that you are not concerned that billions and billions of our tax dollars have gone to corporations like Solynda and General Electric to reward Obama campaign bundlers. I would submit, people, that you have a lot more to be concerned about that is right in your faces right now than what the Romney donors might do!

    July 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  24. Lindsey

    If all progressives and independents in this country stopped buying Sparkle paper towels and other products made by the Koch boys' prize baby, Georgia Pacific, that would hit them in their bank accounts. I haven't bought them for several years, nor will I.

    July 9, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Pete

    Republicans hate this from Democrates knowing darn well their anti Romney message is getting across.Keep it up,it doesn't take money to drum the facts home that Romney would help only the 1% if he took office,a nasty fact that will eventually wipe out most of these republican governors as well..They can't hide the fact or are too arrogent to care being blatantly public with their intented agendas of only helping the wealthy and influencial that these government minions cater too.Unemployment is up because of the increased layoffs also of public sector jobs at the hands of these extremist governors and their anti Obama crusade to make him at McConnells instructions to be a one term president,that's treasonistic not the types people voted for originally.These governors aren't for the people ,they're for the teabaggers,Koch brothrs and the like that will benefit all at the middle class expense.Republicans know the the gigg is up and when the debates are done it'll be made clear just who is for the people,not the corporate surrogate Romney,the puppet of the wealthy...

    July 9, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
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