Robert Budd Dwyer was an American politician in the state of Pennsylvania. From 1971 to 1981, he served as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Dwyer’s suicide was broadcast to a wide television audience across the state of Pennsylvania. A copy of the unedited video is available on the Internet. Apart from the reason that he continuously alleged that he was innocent, another reason for Dwyer’s suicide might have been that his killing himself while still technically in office allowed his family to collect pension benefits that would have been forfeited upon his imprisonment. Since Dwyer died in office, his widow Joanne was able to collect full survivor benefits, totaling over $1.28 million.
On October 9, 2010 a documentary about Budd Dwyer, titled Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer, premiered at the Carmel Art & Film Festival. In the film, William Smith, a co-accused whose testimony was crucial to Dwyer’s conviction, admitted to lying under oath in order to get a lighter sentence.