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. Jimm


    Were these people protesting outside George Clooney's house back in May, when Obama had a $50,00.00 a plate fundraiser
    I don't recall George Clooney asking for policy changes such as tax cuts or more oil drilling or changing environmental regulations? Do you?

    July 9, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. rntravelgnome

    "buy a president"? Are we sure that the name is Kock and not Kennedy? Isn't that what old Joe did? Oh no, wait, that's a Democrat solution, not (gasp!!) a true blue Republican??!! Besides, why doesn't Mitt spend his money- he wouldn't have to pay any taxes on it and I'm sure at the end of the year he would find some way to have it written off. Oh, that's right, Ann is using it all to keep up her obscenely expensive lifestyle. Gee, what great role models for the common American to aspire to??!!

    July 9, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. rntravelgnome

    OOPS!!! Freudian slip above!!!!! That's Koch, not, well you know. K too close to H on the old laptop............

    July 9, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. Cheney literally doesn't have a heart

    This ELECTION is not for sale!!!!!!! Boycott all Georgia Pacific products- no more Brawny's for me.

    July 9, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. ROD

    Its funny we used to applaud people who made money & created wealth here but now we get pissed off at people like that. In 4 years we have created a socialist society that only wants to spread the wealth. Obama is far worse then any thing Romney will bring to the table. We are a nation who is in serious trouble & Obama is partly to blame but the biggest issue is the fact that Liberals can't see the forest through the trees.

    July 9, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. Nancy Stallard

    We don't have elections, we have auctions. We can't even protest, we have protest zones. The police protect the wealthy. Look at your money, it says "Federal Reserve Note." Our government doesn't even make its own money, the Federal Reserve, a bank, makes it, loans it to the govt who then taxes us to pay it back. Look at old money in an antique store, it says either Govt. Bank Note or Silver Certificate. We are done. Doesn't matter which loser gets elected, they are bought, paid for and told just how much they can do. Mitt is one of them, totally, and has no problem selling us out. The repugs want to take away my retirement benefits after 36 years of work so I vote my special interests but I expect this country to get worse. More jobs? How about less people???

    July 9, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Pretty shaky campaign fund raising if you ask me. You cannot meet with the folks who run a superPAC, but you can meet with folks who donate to a superPAC. What's the difference? They've legalized political bribery.

    July 9, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. NOT smarter than you...

    Why are the Dems so concerned about OTHERS wealth and actions. Mind your own business and EARN your own money. Whinin' like little babies.

    July 9, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Roger

    The cure for rotten Koch is to re-elect Obama and turn the House in 2012!

    July 9, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Taylor

    Here's the deal, when large donors donote to the President , they want nothing in returns, movie stars, director and etc. But when they donate to Romey they want clean air, no regulations and etc. That the difference. With all the money Romey have received I hope that he can not buy the American People. Let the rich just keep giving for nothing. Please America don't vote for Romey, if you do the wealthy wins again........

    July 9, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  11. Mack

    How do the tea party patriots reconcile the fact that Romney is supporting socialism by hiding his money in a socialist country's(Switzerland) bank? if Socialism is so evil why would he be hiding his money there? And they say Presidnet Obama is a Socialist lol

    July 9, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  12. Evangenital

    The Koch Brothers are trying to buy the presidency.

    July 9, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  13. I Remember

    Why will I NEVER vote Republican again?? ..I CLEARLY remember what happened with the last one we had in the White House, and, I have no illusions that it was BUSH who destroyed the economy and it has been republicans who have done everything within their power since then to prevent a recovery from that damage.
    Republicans = LIARS & CHEATS.

    July 9, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  14. Debby

    Well protesting isn't illegal, but how did these people get on a private stretch of beach thats pretty scary. They sure don't look like they own homes there. lol

    July 9, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  15. Obamacare = Obama cares about the young, elderly, poor and disabled. Romneycare = "I don't care about the poor"! Repeal? Replace? With What?

    Koch is the "`hopium" of the 1%!

    July 9, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  16. Sirned

    Republicans keep saying why aren't Democrats angry about George Cloony giving big bucks to Obama. First Clooney is not responsible for outsourcing our jobs like the Kock brothers are. And the Democrats are against unlimited money in politics period. These protests are just the beginning by those of us that believe in true democracy not a plutocracy .....

    July 9, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Honesty

    Lol@Us no longer applauding those who make millions. That isn't the issue, we can't continue to applaud these people when they're making millions by exploiting the American people. If your idea of a "job" is trying to low ball the American worker so you can keep your bottom line low while stripping them of their benefits, I'm sorry but politically I have to look out for my best interests since these profiteering leeches are only looking out for themselves. They're spending all these millions of dollars because they don't give a damn about America and only care about their bank accounts. Besides, why are we fighting over transitory jobs, educate yourselves and fight over a career. Let them keep their low wage jobs. People fail to realize that a lot of these blood sucking ticks, promised to reinvest in the American economy after the Bush tax cuts to create "JOBS" and such, yet after cashing their tax rebate checks, they reinvested in everything else but America. We can't suffer from collective amnesia as a country when it comes to these low lives whose enduring motto is "Profit over people!" They could care less about you idiots who buy into the promise of a job.

    July 9, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. June

    Anyone with off shore accounts must have something to hide. Americans really need to wake up.

    July 9, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. GOP puts "chri$t" in "chri$tian" since 60% of the GOP believes they should not care for those less fortunate!

    "You have got to be kidding. There's like 20 people out there. Why is this news?"

    Actually, Robme would be pleased with a turn out of 20(which as reported in the article was close to 200, but hey), CNN thought Robme with a rousing crowd of 7 students was newswothy.

    July 9, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. James

    it's cute that they think their president isn't in some pretty deep pockets too.

    July 9, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  21. Rosslaw

    This is why Mitch McConnell is on a speaking tour advocating that Russan-style political oligarchs like the Kochs need to maintain their secrecy in terms of contriibutions-this hurts their feelings. Sunlight is still the best disinfectant, hence Republicans aversion to it as though they were vampires.

    July 9, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Out Of Touch with reality

    must be the obamanites that DOPNT WORK and suck us dry with there welfare antics, Get A Job and quit sucking America dry

    July 9, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. matt

    They need to keep the pressure on the Koch brothers and their ilk, and any one like them that intends to buy the presidency. Mit's only answer is profits, profits over people, profits over tax responsibility, ie. tax havens in foreign countries and secret bank accounts. Be honest Mitt show us those accounts. Pay your taxes we Americans in the middle class do.

    July 9, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  24. zisee

    Yeah, and like those protesting don't have any money. Ugly, spoiled Hampton rich brats.

    July 9, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Taylor wrote:

    Here's the deal, when large donors donote to the President , they want nothing in returns, movie stars, director and etc. But when they donate to Romey they want clean air, no regulations and etc.
    I figured that I would edit your post for you.....

    "Here's the deal, when large donors donote to the President , they want nothing in returns, movie stars, director and etc. But when they donate to Romey they want clean air, no regulations and etc. "

    July 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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