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R. Budd Dwyer

1939-11-21 - 1987-01-22

Robert Budd Dwyer (November 21, 1939 – January 22, 1987) was an American politician. He served from 1965 to 1971 as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and from 1971 to 1981 as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the state's 50th district. Dwyer then served as the 30th state treasurer of Pennsylvania from January 20, 1981, to January 22, 1987, when he killed himself during a live press conference. In the early 1980s, Pennsylvania discovered that its state workers had overpaid federal taxes due to errors in state withholding prior to Dwyer's administration. A multimillion-dollar recovery contract was required to determine the compensation to be given to each employee. In 1986, Dwyer was convicted of accepting a bribe from Computer Technology Associates, a California-based firm, to award them the contract. He was found guilty on 11 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, perjury, and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering, and was scheduled to be sentenced on January 23, 1987. On January 22, Dwyer called a news conference in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Harrisburg, during which he fatally shot himself with a .357 Magnum revolver in front of reporters. Dwyer's suicide was broadcast later that day to a wide television audience across Pennsylvania. All posthumous appeals made by Dwyer's lawyers on Dwyer's behalf were denied, and his convictions were upheld. Along with Barbara Hafer and Rob McCord, Dwyer is one of three former Pennsylvania State treasurers to be convicted of corruption since the 1980s.