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As always happens, I found the answer right after my post. Imported graphics always have a bounding rectangular polygon defining their extent. To circumvent this, break the imported graphic into vector fields by selecting the graphic and running the MODIFY > BREAK APART command. Save the result as a symbol and its bounds will be the visible extent of the graphic itself.
No, I was mistaken thinking breaking the original graphic apart prior to saving as a symbol enabled Flash to determine the actual extent of the graphics. Whether or not the graphic is broken apart, the "hit area" of a resulting button is rectangular.
You will get better results posting this question in one of the Flash forums http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/webforums/forum/index.cfm?forumid=15