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Koch Brothers: N. Y. fundraiser for Mitt Romney draws protestors

Mitt Romney raise $3 million Sunday at three events, including one at the Southampton home of David Koch, one of the billionaire Koch brothers, who have come to dominate conservative fundraising.

By Maeve RestonLos Angeles Times / July 9, 2012

Maria d. Maisonet, center, marches with protestors from MoveOn.org, the Occupy Movement, and the Long Island Progressive at a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Sunday, July 8, 2012, near the Southampton estate of billionaire industrialist David Koch. Koch asked donors to give $50,000 per person or $75,000 per couple.

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

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Southampton, N.Y.

They never got close, and Mitt Romney may not have even seen them, but protesters — some from Occupy Wall Street — took political theater to a new level Sunday outside the beachfront estate of billionaire David Koch, where the Republican candidate was raising money.

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Some of the 200 protesters marched down mile-long Coopers Beach toward the home in a cloud of sand, bearing banners and signs: “Your $50,000 ticket equals my child’s education,” “End corporate personhood” and “Don’t forget to tip the help.”

Kean University professor Stuart Leonard led an advance party to the beach in front of the Koch estate — only the rooftop and tip of a tent were visible from the sand — and the protesters posed with a flag in the style of the Marines at Iwo Jima.

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The figurative clash between rich and less-so came as Romney spent a highly profitable day in the Hamptons, divided into three fundraisers of the sort that has propelled a lucrative money-making operation for the unofficial presidential nominee. All three events, which raised an estimated $3 million, were closed to reporters.

The day began in East Hampton at “The Creeks,” the estate of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman, where supporters were asked to contribute or raise $25,000 per person for a VIP photo reception. Also present was House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

Romney then traveled to a midafternoon event in Southampton hosted by Clifford Sobel, who served as ambassador to Brazil under President George W. Bush.

The final event, and the focus of the protesters, was the evening fundraiser at the estate of Julia and David Koch on Meadow Lane in Southampton. The suggested contribution was $75,000 per couple — with funds going to Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The Koch party drew protests not only because of Romney but because of the host — one of a pair of billionaire brothers who have come to dominate conservative fundraising.

The Coast Guard patrolled the waters offshore, the Secret Service guarded the walkway to the Koch estate, and New York state troopers lined the dunes in their tall hats, warning protesters to get back. They were met with chants of “Shame on you” and “We got sold out, banks got bailed out.”

Earlier, the scene on the tony stretch of Long Island oozed wealth, but not universal praise about the state of Romney’s campaign.

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