Budd Dwyer: His TV Suicide And Everything That Led Up To It

By Jacob Shelton

(Eighty Four Films, LLC)

On January 22, 1987, Robert Budd Dwyer, the acting Pennsylvania state treasurer, pulled out a .357 Magnum during a press conference, put it in his mouth, and pulled the trigger in front of reporters, family members, and untold numbers of home viewers. Why would a small-time state politician do such a thing?

Who Was Budd Dwyer?

Budd Dwyer was into politics from an early age. After graduating from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, he entered the local scene before winning a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Republican in 1970. He went on to become a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate before running for state treasurer in 1980. 

During his stint as treasurer, investigators in Pennsylvania learned that a clerical error caused some state workers to overpay millions of dollars in taxes. Computer Technology Associates won the bid to sort the whole mess out, and a few months later, an anonymous source told Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh that C.T.A. bribed Pennsylvania officials, including Dwyer, to make sure they did.