Mapping the complicated social network of Bunny Mellon

By Laurie Bennett

June 4, 2011 at 2:03pm

While the indictment against John Edwards refers to her only as “Person C,” Rachel Mellon is at the heart of the the former presidential candidate’s case.

Mellon, a 100-year-old heiress known as “Bunny,” quietly gave Edwards $725,000 that was not reported to the Federal Election Commission. The funds allegedly were used to keep Rielle Hunter, with whom Edwards was having an affair, out of the public spotlight.

Mellon took a liking to Edwards after meeting him in 2006, and became angered during the campaign when he was criticized for his expensive haircuts.

Bunny Mellon
Bunny Mellon

The indictment quotes a note she wrote to former campaign aide Andrew Young: “From now on, all haircuts, etc., that are necessary and important for his campaign - please send the
bills (to me).” It was, she said, a way to “help our friend without government restrictions.”

The reclusive Mellon is the widow of banking heir Paul Mellon, whose father was Treasury secretary in the Harding, Hoover and Coolidge administrations. She is an heir in her own right, as the daughter of Lambert pharmaceutical exec Gerard B. Lambert.

Mellon was a friend of Jackie Kennedy and designed the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden at the White House.

In his book, Young wrote that after Mellon’s daughter died in 2008, she asked that Caroline Kennedy and Edwards sit with her at the funeral. Kennedy complied; Edwards did not.

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