Progressives Plan to Crash Romney's Fundraiser at Koch's Southampton Estate

By Brendan J. O’Reilly, Southampton Patch

Billionaire industrialist and frequent donator to conservative causes David Koch is planning a fundraiser at his Southampton estate for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on July 8 for $50,000 a head — and a number of uninvited guests plan to crash the party.

The Long Island Progressive Coalition said Thursday it will help to lead like-minded groups to “non-violently disrupt” the event, which is one of three Romney fundraisers planned in the Hamptons that day, according to a Politico report.

“We’ll be making noise, holding up signs and letting everybody that has to pass by there on the way to the fundraiser know that Long Island does not support the political agenda that they’re raising money for that night,” said Long Island Progressive Coalition communications coordinator David Segal.

He said the coalition learned of the event after an invitation was leaked online. According to the invitation, the fundraiser will begin at 5 p.m. and the cost is $50,000 per individual and $75,000 per couple, with proceeds benefiting Romney Victory, Inc.

“The fact that David Koch is spearheading this fundraiser is indicative of the role that money is playing in politics right now,” Segal said.

The Romney campaign did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The protest is planned for 4 p.m. in front of the oceanfront Meadow Lane estate, though demonstrators will first assemble at the Coopers Beach parking lot at 3 p.m. They will then march to Koch’s home carrying banners.

“We want to show up in front of the Kochs’ house to say, ‘We’re tired of you promoting policies that go against the interest of everyday people,'” Segal said.

Joining the coalition are Greenpeace, Occupy Wall Street, Moveon.org, Strong For All, United New York, The Occupied Storefront and Occupy Huntington. Protestors from New York City will be bussed in for free.

Southampton Village has a law against protests targeting a domicile, but Mayor Mark Epley said Thursday that it is the village attorney’s opinion the law does not apply in this case because Romney does not reside at the estate.

The law was adopted after anti-illegal immigration protestors took to demonstrating outside Epley’s house.

Epley said his biggest concern is the safety hazards a large gathering on Meadow Lane poses on a Sunday afternoon when many vehicles are leaving beaches and the county park at the end of the road.

Segal said the demonstrators will not block driveways or impede traffic, and will follow the conventional rules governing protests.