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Published on Feb 27, 2013
Robert Budd Dwyer (November 21, 1939 -- January 22, 1987) was an American politician in the state of Pennsylvania. He served from 1971 to 1981 as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the state's 50th district. He served as the 30th Treasurer of Pennsylvania from January 20, 1981, to January 22, 1987; on that day, Dwyer called a news conference in the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg where he took his own life in front of the gathered reporters with a .357 caliber pistol. Dwyer's suicide was also broadcast to a wide television audience across the state of Pennsylvania. In the early 1980s, Pennsylvania discovered its state workers had overpaid federal taxes due to errors in state withholding. Many accounting firms competed for a multimillion-dollar contract to determine compensation to each employee. In 1986, Dwyer was convicted of receiving a bribe from a California firm trying to gain the contract. Throughout his trial and after his conviction, he maintained that he was innocent of the charge and that he had been framed. Dwyer was scheduled to be sentenced on those charges on January 23, 1987, the day after his death.