Bachelor of Science, Ohio State University, 1933. Postgraduate, Duke University, 1935. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Ohio University, 1966.
Doctor of Laws (honorary), College Steubenville, 1968.
In the mid-1970s, lawmakers avoided crossing Hays for fear that he would shut off the air conditioning in their offices. He resigned from Congress after a much-publicized sex scandal in 1976. He resided in Saint Clairsville, Ohio at the time of his death.
While his colleagues might have argued over whether he, as chairman of the House Administrative Committee and the Democratic Campaign Committee, was the second or third most powerful member of Congress, few disagreed that he stood in a class by himself as the meanest man in the House.
He served as mayor of Flushing, Ohio, from 1939 to 1945 and simultaneously served in the Ohio state senate in 1941 and 1942. Starting in 1945 he served a four-year term as Commissioner of Belmont County.
Hays, a Democrat, was elected to the 81st Congress in 1948, and was subsequently elected to thirteen succeeding Congresses. He was chairman of the powerful Committee on House Administration.
Hays received 5 votes for president at the 1972 Democratic National Convention without campaigning for the office.
In May 1976, the Washington Post broke the story quoting Elizabeth Ray, Hays"s former secretary, saying that Hays hired her on his staff, and later gave her a raise as staff of the House Administration Committee for two years to serve as his mistress. Ostensibly a secretary, Ray admitted: "I can"t type. I can"t file. Time Magazine reported, "Liz chose to tell her story after Hays decided to marry Pat Peak and did not invite her.
"I was good enough to be his mistress for two years but not good enough to be invited to his wedding," she pouted." Three days later, Hays admitted to most of the allegations on the House floor, denying only "that Mission Ray"s federal salary was awarded solely for sexual services.
She was not, insisted Hays, "hired to be my mistress."" He resigned as chairman of the Committee on House Administration on June 18, 1976, and then resigned from Congress on September 1, 1976. After leaving office, Hays returned to Red Gate Farm, his 300-acre property in Belmont, where he bred Angus cattle and Tennessee walking horses.
He was defeated by future Congressman Bob Ney.
In 1976 Hays ran for the party"s nomination for President as a favorite son candidate in the Ohio primary.
He was a member of the Army Officers’ Reserve Corps from 1933 until called to active duty as a second lieutenant on December 8, 1941, with a medical discharge in August 1942. Hays served one term, from 1979 to 1981, as member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Married Martha Judkins, June 3, 1937 (divorced 1976). 1 child, Martha Brigitta. Married Pat Hays, 1976.