Power brokers gather at male-only Burning Tree Club

By Laurie Bennett

August 23, 2011 at 9:02am

Once again, incredibly, we have to make an argument against organizations that bar women from membership.

Private golf courses are frequently places where the influential meet, play golf, discuss business and hatch deals. The Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, MD, is a special case.

The men-only club has counted U.S. presidents, senators and congressmen among its members. (Expand the Burning Tree Club entry in the map above, and you’ll see that former members include former presidents Nixon, Ford, Johnson and Kennedy.)

The club used to have a policy calling for automatic acceptance of Supreme Court justices; that was dropped after the first woman, Sandra Day O’Connor, joined the court.

Political Correction, a project of Media Matters, reports that many lobbyists are also members.

This is convenient for male lobbyists and the companies they represent, particularly because House Speaker John Boehner is a member.

Lobbyists who golf at Burning Tree represent the pharmaceuticals energy and tobacco industries.

It probably doesn’t come as a shock that those industries are also big contributors to Boehner.

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