Holding signs that said “Romney has a Koch problem,” more than 200 people staged a protest on Sunday at the private fundraising dinner given by oil billionaire David Koch for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Protesters staked out Koch's Southampton beachside estate, "peacefully demonstrating against the unprecedented flood of money the Koch brothers and their wealthy friends are using to try to buy the election for the 1%," CBS news reported.
"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, KTXS reported. "It doesn't sound like democracy to me."
Neither did it sound like one to East Hampton lawyer Jeff Bragman. “I don’t want billionaires buying elections," he told Forbes. "It’s simple."
MoveOn.org organized the protest after an invitation to the Koch fundraiser for Romney surfaced publicly, Bloomberg News reports. The going rate for entry is $75000 a couple and $50000 a person, the invitation pictured on Buzz Feed says.
"Romney may not want voters to know about his Koch problem," said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org Political Action, in a statement, according to CBS, "but MoveOn members will make sure all the Super PAC money in the world isn't enough to keep them from finding out." (Koch’s name rhymes with the word ‘coke’ ).
So at 5pm, when Koch and wife Julia welcomed Romney to their Meadow Lane mansion,
around 200 protesters from as far as Wisconsin and Arizona, representing MoveOn.org, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Long Island, Occupy Huntington, and the Long Island Progressive Coalition welcomed him with signs proclaiming "Koch kills" and "Mitt Romney has a Koch problem".
And just in case guests waiting in the line of cars 30 deep to enter the waterfront estate closed their eyes to the banners in front of them, their ears may have alerted them to the sound of a plane flying overhead. The plane, paid for by MoveOn.org, carried a giant red and black banner over Koch’s house which read: “Romney has a Koch problem.”
The Romneymobile Cadillac
As Koch's guests drove past protesters in Range Rovers, Denalis and other luxury vehicles, members of MoveOn.org drove past donors with an eye-catching vehicle of their own: the "Romneymobile Cadillac.”
screenshot via video
"Romneymobile Cadillac, with Seamus the dog on top.
What drew attention to the Romneymobile Cadillac, weren't the stickers with the logos of big banks like Citigroup and Wells Fargo and companies that Romney co-founded, including Bain Capital LLC, but the figure strapped on top of the vehicle: a plastic dog.
The plastic dog strapped to the roof was a reminder of Romney’s decision to transport their family dog, an Irish setter named Seamus inside a crate on the roof of his car on a family vacation in the 1980s.
The Koch event was one of a trio of fundraisers in New York's Hamptons communities
that could bring in millions of dollars for the campaign's "Victory" fund. It also marked Romney's return to the campaign trail after a week of vacation at his summer home in New Hampshire, MSNBC reports.
Earlier, the candidate attended a lunch at “The Creeks,” Ron Perelman’s 57-acre East Hampton’s estate. Perelman is chairman and chief executive of McAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., which owns cosmetics maker Revlon Inc. Romney also appeared at an event at the beach home on Meadow Lane in Southampton of Clifford Sobel, ambassador to Brazil under President George W. Bush.
While reporters weren't allowed inside the fundraisers, it didn't stop them from speaking to the guests heading there.
The New York Times spoke with Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, about how he felt about Obama's leadership.
“He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Conklin told the New York Times from inside a gold Mercedes, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.
The Times said that Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit. “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”
A New York City donor heading to Perelman's fundraiser, who also would not give her name, told a LA Times reporter that Romney needed to do a better job connecting.
"I don't think the common person is getting it," she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. "Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.
"We've got the message," she added. "But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies -- everybody who's got the right to vote -- they don't understand what's going on. I just think if you're lower income -- one, you're not as educated, two, they don't understand how it works, they don't understand how the systems work, they don't understand the impact."
David and Charles Koch
Brothers David and Charles Koch have become synonymous with outside spending in politics in part because David Koch, whose net worth Forbes magazine pegs at $25 billion, is head of Americans for Prosperity, which fueled the tea party movement.
Americans for Prosperity is a nonprofit group that is not required to disclose its donors. It has spent more than $6 million on television ads attacking Obama and recently announced a $9 million ad campaign against the president’s health care law.
"The Kochs have made it clear they'll spend whatever it takes to remove Obama from the top job," Forbes reported.