A celebrity gossip website on Friday posted a photo that it claims shows Inland Rep. Mary Bono Mack in a playful, but compromising position.
In the photo posted on RadarOnline.com, a woman is seen with her tongue extended toward the chest of another woman. Both women are clothed in the image, which the website said is from four years ago.
The website claims that the woman with her tongue out is Edra Blixseth, a well-known businesswoman who, according to campaign finance records, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans, including Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, and her late husband, former Rep. Sonny Bono.
The other woman is purportedly Bono Mack, who is beginning her eighth term in Congress, representing Moreno Valley, Hemet, Murrieta and Riverside County's desert communities.
It raises the question, what kind of people push a story like this? Bono Mack chief of staff Frank Cullen said of the photo's posting in a written statement. He did not elaborate.
In the photos, Mack is in a racy and scandalous position cuddling and touching former billionaire Edra Blixseth. RadarOnline said the photos were taken in 2006 at an out of control Blilxeth's Porcupine Creek estate party in Ranho Mirage.
According to Radar Online's sources, Mack was blitzed and clearly having a great time at the function.
One acquaintance, Julie Bornstein, Mack's 2008 congressional challenger, expressed little surprise over the pictures.
Several women in the California Congressional delegation were embarrassed repeatedly by Mary Bono's behavior and conduct in the Capitol and encouraged me to run because of the embarrassment she brought to the legislature, Bornstein told RadarOnline.com of the pictures, saying that Mack had been known as a strenuous partier.
Bono Mack, 49, was re-elected to a seventh term representing California's 45th District in November. The Palm Springs Republican is the newly appointed chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
Bono Mack and Blixseth are longtime friends, Blixseth and her ex-husband, Tim Blixseth, have also been political supporters. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Blixseths donated at least $4,500 to Bono Mack's re-election efforts.
Besides those financial contributions, the congresswoman has used the Blixseth estate to host several political fundraisers. That includes a 2007 event for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.
In February 2008, Edra Blixseth hosted a wedding reception for the congresswoman and Rep. Connie Mack of Florida. Nearly 200 guests attended that event, which was held two months after their Ashville, N.C. wedding ceremony.
We have been friends for many years, through good times and bad, and we've decided we like the good times better, Bono Mack said at the time.
In recent years, the Blixseths has been embroiled in legal and financial battles.
After they divorced in 2008, Edra Blixseth was left with the 18,000-square-foot estate in Rancho Mirage. Porcupine Creek is put on sale now..
The FBI has been investigating Edra Blixseth's financial activities, though no charges have been filed.