Mr. Korsmo was Chairman of the North Dakota State Republican Party from 1993 to 1995 and ran as the Republican nominee for North Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, but lost the election to Earl Pomeroy by a 57% to 39% margin. In 1996 and 1997, he served as Policy/Legislative Director for Republican North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer. An attorney, real estate title abstracter and title insurance agent, Mr. Korsmo was the founder and president since 1998 of Korsmo Consulting Services, Inc., a healthcare, political and sports marketing consulting firm in Fargo, North Dakota.
In 2002 President George W. Bush (R) designated John T. Korsmo to be Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board. He was confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 2002. He replaced J. Timothy O’Neill, who has been serving as Chairman since June 18 and remained a director on the Board.
“I am extremely grateful to the President for the confidence he has expressed in me and deeply honored to serve his Administration as Chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board,” said Mr. Korsmo.
The Federal Housing Finance Board is an independent regulatory agency that regulates the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks, which help supply funds to lenders that finance loans for home mortgages. Korsmo resigned from the Finance Board in 2004.
Investigation and Conviction
The Banking Committee and the Inspector General were looking into the propriety of Korsmo's participation in a fundraising event for a congressional candidate. Korsmo was listed as the "Special Guest" on the invitation to the fundraiser, and the invitations were sent to the Presidents of the Federal Home Loan Banks that are regulated by the Finance Board.
Following the fundraising event, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, questioned Korsmo about his participation in the fundraising event whose invitations were sent to banking officials that he regulated. Sarbanes asked the Inspector General to investigate. The FBI also investigated. In a written response to Senator Sarbanes, Korsmo stated that he did not know how the congressional campaign obtained contact information for the banking officials.
Later, Korsmo admitted that his letter to Chairman Sarbanes was false and that he knew before the fundraising event that his wife, who was involved in organizing the event, had provided Korsmo's detailed contact information to the banking officials to the campaign. Korsmo also admitted that he lied to Inspector General agents regarding his knowledge that his wife had provided the contact lists to the campaign.
Korsmo entered his plea in Federal Court in Washington, D.C., before Judge Henry Kennedy. He pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which oversees the Finance Board, and the Inspector General for the Finance Board. Korsmo was convicted of a felony in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in the case of United States of America v. John T. Korsmo, Case Number CR05-104-01, as follows: 18 USC 1001(a)(2), False and Fictitious Statements, for which he received a sentence of unsupervised probation for a term of 18 months, an assessment of $400 and a fine of $5,000.
United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in the case of United States of America v. John T. Korsmo, Case Number CR05-104-01, as follows: 18 USC 1001(a)(2), False and Fictitious Statements, for which he received a sentence of unsupervised probation for a term of 18 months, an assessment of $400 and a fine of $5,000.
- "Former Housing Board Chairman Agrees to Plead Guilty". The Bismarck Tribune. Associated Press. March 23, 2005. Archived from the original on 2010-12-24.
- "Former Housing Finance Board Chairman Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Statements" (Press release). United States Department of Justice. April 7, 2005.
- http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/2507/PR01-31.pdf[dead link]
- "Korsmo: I Erred, But 'My Conscience is Clear'". EBSCO Host Connection. October 2002., abstracting from Rob Garver (October 15, 2002). "Korsmo: I Erred, But 'My Conscience is Clear'". American Banker. p. 4.
- "Justice: Korsmo to plead guilty". UPI. March 22, 2005.
- Paul W. Jacobson (April 13, 2006). "In the Matter of the Application for Disciplinary Action Against John T. Korsmo, a Member of the Bar of the State of North Dakota".
- "Disciplinary Board v. Korsmo: Application for Disciplinary Action. Suspension Ordered.". Supreme Court of North Dakota. June 30, 2006.