Elizabeth Ray

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Elizabeth Ray
Betty Lou Ray

(1943-05-14) May 14, 1943 (age 75)

Elizabeth Ray (born Betty Lou Ray on May 14, 1943, in Marshall, North Carolina [1]) was the central figure in a much publicized sex scandal in 1976 that ended the career of U.S. Rep. Wayne Hays (D-Ohio).

The Washington Post reported that Ray had been on the payroll of a committee run by Hays for two years as a clerk-secretary. During that time, she admitted, her actual job duties were providing Congressman Hays sexual favors: "I can't type, I can't file, I can't even answer the phone."[2] Ray, who had won the title of Miss Virginia 1975 in a beauty contest, says she worked briefly as a stewardess, waitress and car rental clerk before beginning work on the Hill in the summer of 1972. Ray also admitted having sex with married Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) at his houseboat in August 1972. According to Ray, the meeting was arranged by her then-boss Rep. Kenneth J. Gray (D-Illinois) in exchange for Gravel's support of a bill Gray was pushing. Both Gravel and Gray denied the accusations and a federal investigation ended with no charges being filed. Decades later, Gravel admitted having sex with Ray, but continued to maintain that it was not in exchange for his vote.[3][4][5][6]

After the Hays scandal broke, a book appeared in her name, titled The Washington Fringe Benefit. She later posed for Playboy several times and tried acting and stand-up comedy. However, these efforts did not develop into a career and she faded back into obscurity.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brainy History
  2. ^ Clark, Marion; Maxa, Rudy (May 23, 1976). "Closed Session Romance on the Hill". Washington Post. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  3. ^ Crewdson, John M. (1976-06-12). "U.S. Studies Charge Of Sex-for-Vote Bid". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Miss Ray Said to Link Tryst to Building Project". The New York Times. Associated Press. 1976-06-13.
  5. ^ Oelsner, Lesley (1976-06-14). "Rep. Howe Held on Sex Charge in Utah; Gravel Denies Sex on Boat With Miss Ray". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Steven Rattner (1978-05-08). "Now Washington Wants Its Station Back". The New York Times.
  7. ^ IMDB