Steny Hoyer’s Secretive Island Club is Sponsored by the Gun Lobby

The Jefferson Islands Club brings D.C. elite together for duck hunts and oysters.

Steny Hoyer’s Secretive Island Club is Sponsored by the Gun Lobby
The Jefferson Islands Club

Calls for new gun control laws have increased following two recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. While congressional Republicans mainly remain allied with the gun lobby against such measures, Democrats are nearly universally clamoring for the passage of new laws. However, one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress is simultaneously maintaining a tie to a top firearms industry lobbying group, helping to bolster its image among the nation’s elites. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is currently the honorary chairman of the Jefferson Islands Club, an invitation-only social club that was founded in the 1930s by Democratic senators with charter members including Franklin D. Roosevelt and the executives of major corporations like Chase National Bank and General Electric. The club owns Saint Catherine Island, a 50-acre island in the lower Potomac River and has a mission “to support a Club House with suitable surroundings and comforts where members may assemble, discuss and promote Jeffersonian philosophies.” The island, which features a nine-bedroom mid-century retreat, is open for its members from April to December and hosts several annual events, including a spring oyster and wild game reception, and a mid- to late-July crab feast. The club’s skeet shooting range is open during all of its events and it maintains several duck-hunting blinds.

New members may apply only upon the endorsement of three members in good standing, and the club does not publicly disclose its membership list. A 1994 article by the Washington Post said the club’s membership was composed of lawyers, lobbyists, and trade association executives.