He served from to as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and from to as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate representing the state's 50th district. Dwyer then served as the 30th Treasurer of Pennsylvania from January 20, , to January 22, , when he committed suicide during a live press conference.
In the early s, Pennsylvania discovered its state workers had overpaid federal taxes due to errors in state withholding prior to Dwyer's administration. A multi-million-dollar recovery contract was required to determine the compensation to be given to each employee. In , Dwyer was convicted for accepting a bribe from the California firm that won 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, On January 22, Dwyer called a news conference in the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg where he fatally shot himself with a.
Dwyer's suicide was broadcast later that day to a wide television audience across Pennsylvania. Throughout Dwyer's trial and after his conviction, Dwyer maintained that he was not guilty of the charges for which he was convicted, and that his conviction resulted from political persecution.
In , the prosecution's main witness, William Trickett Smith , maintained that his testimony at Dwyer's trial—in which he stated that he offered Dwyer a bribe, and that Dwyer accepted this offer—was truthful, and that he had committed perjury at his own trial when he denied offering Dwyer a bribe; moreover, Smith stated in October —the year before his own trial—that he offered Dwyer a bribe, which Dwyer accepted.
Attorney James West, who prosecuted Dwyer, affirmed Dwyer's guilt,  stating that "the evidence against Dwyer was overwhelming and indisputable". Budd Dwyer was born on November 21, in St. Charles, Missouri. A Republican , Dwyer became active in politics. After being elected to additional terms in and ,  Dwyer decided to try for a state office and in ran for and won the office of Pennsylvania Treasurer  that had been held by Robert E. Casey since An investigation was undertaken by federal prosecutors. Dwyer repeatedly tried to stop, divert and forestall this investigation, stating that the US attorney had neither the authority nor evidence to pursue prosecution.
Attorney and the FBI during the investigation. Prior to Dwyer's indictment, The U. Attorney indicted Torquato, Torquato's attorney William T. Smith, and Smith's wife. Dwyer, acting as a defense witness for Smith at Smith's trial, denied that he was offered any contribution at all. However, prior to Smith's trial, on October 27, four days after Smith's indictment , Smith confessed to offering Dwyer a bribe, and stated that Dwyer accepted this offer.
Asher indicated that he had had a conversation with Mr. Said he thought I knew better than to offer a contribution to Mr. Dwyer, and he said if there was going to be a contribution, it was going to go to Republican State Committee. Dwyer, along with Asher, were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 13, Ultimately, Smith did not receive any reduction in his sentence for testifying against Dwyer although his wife, Judy Smith, was granted immunity from prosecution.
Furthermore, his task force's contribution merely consisted in the making of a single phone call to David I. Dwyer awarded the contract to CTA—an obscure California firm with three employees, little equipment, and little experience—despite being informed in May by the major Pennsylvania-based accounting firm Arthur Young and Associates who had two-hundred-and-fifty employees and submitted a proposal eight days prior to CTA's proposal that they could perform the FICA recovery as fast as CTA for half the cost.
Additionally, sixteen other competitors were willing to be considered for the FICA recovery contract and many had communicated with Treasurer Dwyer's office to request an opportunity to bid on the contract, yet Dwyer did not respond.
Moreover, Dwyer admitted that he did not mention the concept of "immediate credit" to Arthur Young and Associates when officials from the firm asked why CTA was chosen over them. Nevertheless, Dwyer denied any wrongdoing, stating that after the CTA contract was signed, Smith merely made a "generic" offer to help him with his campaign . Dwyer's lawyer spoke to the prosecutor, acting U.
Attorney West, asking him if he would drop all charges against Dwyer if Dwyer resigned as state treasurer. West declined the offer. He instead offered to let Dwyer plead guilty to a single charge of bribe receiving , which would have meant up to a maximum of five years' imprisonment, as long as he resigned from his office as Treasurer of Pennsylvania and cooperated fully with the government's investigation, but Dwyer refused and went to trial. At his trial, Dwyer did not take the stand, and his lawyer, Paul Killion, presented no defense witnesses  since he thought that the government did not sufficiently prove its case.
One of these employees was Dwyer's close friend and campaign manager Fred Mckillop, who was subsequently fired by the PSEA for his involvement in the scheme, and who later featured in a documentary about Dwyer .
In this conspiracy, which was investigated by the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General , Dwyer allegedly siphoned money from his campaign into his personal funds. District Court Judge Malcolm Muir. He later returned to politics and served as a Republican national committeeman for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania law stated that Dwyer could not officially be removed from office until his sentencing in January. Dwyer continued to profess his innocence after being convicted, as did others close to him. The week of Dwyer's sentencing, Pennsylvania State Attorney General LeRoy Zimmerman and state prosecutors were investigating a provision of the Pennsylvania state constitution where removal of a civil worker from office who has been convicted of a crime is "self-executing", thus, automatic upon that person's sentencing.
A decision confirming this constitutional point was expected on January 22, the day before Dwyer's sentencing hearing. In a meeting in his home, Dwyer discussed the idea of a press conference with his press secretary James "Duke" Horshock and Deputy Treasurer Don Johnson, on January 15, At the time, Johnson cautioned Dwyer not to use such a forum to attack the governor or other individuals involved with his criminal conviction, and Dwyer assured him that he would not do so. Both men left assuming Dwyer would ultimately resign if the press conference were held.
Dwyer finally reached Senator Specter by telephone on January 21, two days before his sentencing. A Specter aide stated that the two of them talked for 8 to 10 minutes. In his letter, Dwyer once again professed his innocence and stated that the concept of immediate credit was not understood by the uneducated, unsophisticated "rural" jury at his trial. On the same day, Dwyer asked his press secretary Horshock and deputy press secretary Gregory Penny to set up a news conference for the next day without telling them what he was to discuss.
EST the next day, January The press secretary called dozens of reporters asking them to attend, and told them he did not know its subject. Initially, Dwyer wanted to ban certain reporters from the press conference who he believed wrote biased accounts about him and even suggested that a guard should be in attendance to prevent entry to those who were not on his authorized list. Horshock, who was unconvinced about Dwyer's claims that he was being conspired against, objected, stating to Dwyer that he could not "use state government facilities to manipulate the free flow of information".
Leading up to the press conference, acting U. Attorney West, who had secured the conviction against Dwyer, remarked that the Treasurer's resignation "sounds like the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances. It seems like it would save everybody a lot of time and aggravation. I enjoy being with Jo so much, the next 20 years or so would have been wonderful. Tomorrow is going to be so difficult and I hope I can go through with it.
The next morning, Dwyer went to his press conference as planned. Appearing nervous and agitated, he again professed his innocence and began reading from a page prepared text later described as a "rambling polemic about the criminal justice system".
This speech lasted nearly 30 minutes, and approximately halfway into it, with no apparent end in sight, some of the gathered press began to pack up and leave. Dwyer spotted this and interrupted himself to say, "Those of you who are putting your cameras away, I think you ought to stay because we're not, we're not finished yet.
Given the inflammatory nature of portions of Dwyer's text, press secretary Horshock had considered interrupting him outright to stop him but concluded that he would hold his own press conference after Dwyer's.
I didn't want it to be thought that I wrote that for him. Upon reaching the final page of his statement, which had not been distributed to the press nor press secretary Horshock in advance, Dwyer paused. I thank the good Lord for giving me 47 years of exciting challenges, stimulating experiences, many happy occasions and most of all[,] the finest wife and children any man could ever desire.
Now my life has changed for no apparent reason. People who call and write are exasperated and feel helpless. They know I am innocent and want to help, but in this nation, the worlds [ sic ] greatest democracy, there is nothing they can do to prevent me from being punished for a crime they know I did not commit. Some who have called have said that I am a modern day Job.
Judge Muir is also noted for his medieval sentences. Judge Muir has already told the press that he felt "invigorated" when we were found guilty and that he plans to imprison me as a "deterrant" to other public officials. But it wouldn't be a deterrant [ sic ] because every public official who knows me knows that I am innocent. It wouldn't be legitimate punishment because I've done nothing wrong.
Since I'm a victim of political persecution, my prison would simply be an American Gulag. I ask those that believe in me to continue to extend friendship and prayer to my family, to work untiringly for the creation of a true justice system here in the United States, and to press on with the efforts to vindicate me, so that my family and their future families are not tainted by this injustice that has been perpetrated on me.
We were confident that right and truth would prevail and I would be acquitted and we would devote the rest of our lives working to create a justice system here in the United States. The guilty verdict has strengthened that resolve. But as we've discussed our plans to expose the warts of our legal system[,] people have said, 'Why bother? At this point, Dwyer stopped reading from his prepared remarks, with the gathered press still waiting on his expected resignation. There was still a significant portion remaining, which detailed what he was actually planning to do, and it read as follows:.
I've repeatedly said that I'm not going to resign as State Treasurer. After many hours of thought and meditation I've made a decision that should not be an example to anyone because it is unique to my situation.
Last May I told you that after the trial, I would give you the story of the decade. To those of you who are shallow, the events of this morning will be that story. But to those of you with depth and concern the real story will be what I hope and pray results from this morning—in the coming months and years[,] the development of a true justice system here in the United States. I am going to die in office in an effort to ' Please leave immediately if you have a weak stomach or mind since I don't want to cause physical or mental distress.
Joanne, Rob, DeeDee [ sic ] - I love you! Thank you for making my life so happy. Good bye to you all on the count of 3. Please make sure that the sacrifice of my life is not in vain. After deciding to break from his speech, Dwyer called to three of his staffers, giving each a sealed envelope with the insignia of the treasury department.
The second, given to deputy press secretary Gregory Penny, contained an organ donor card and other related materials.