Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County Republican central committee was under fire Saturday after allegations she sent an email that included an altered photo depicting President Barack Obama. The "family photo" features the commander-in-chief as a baby chimpanzee with two chimp parents. Along with the offensive image was the tagline "Now you know why -- No birth certificate."
Davenport admitted to passing it around to her "friends and acquaintances," reported the Orange County Weekly.
The Tea Party activist then offered up a half-hearted apology.
"I'm sorry if my email offended anyone," she wrote, according to the OC Weekly. "I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth."
The alternative newspaper OC Weekly first reported the story, and was told by Davenport that the e-mail was "just an Internet joke." She also asked the Weekly, "You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?"
Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Scott Baugh told The Associated Press on Saturday that he wants an ethics investigation into the incident.
"It's just highly inappropriate, it's a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee," said Baugh.
Baugh said it could be several days before it's known whether the ethics committee will agree to investigate Davenport.
The GOP committeewoman then blamed the "media" for trying to make a big deal out of the racist e-mail, insisting that the "average person knows and agrees is much ado about nothing." Davenport has since sought to hunt down the "cowardly" person who leaked the e-mail, said Republican Party of Orange County chairman Scott Baugh, who was one of the original people who received the "highly inappropriate" Obama e-mail.
Baugh said, Davenport should be apologizing for what she's done rather than attacking whoever leaked the email to media, referring to an email Davenport sent after the story broke calling on "the coward" who leaked the email to come forward.
Davenport, a tea party activist, represents the 72nd Assembly District in Orange County on the central committee.