Rep. Katie Porter, a California Democrat, asked Carson about real estate owned properties — or REOs, properties that fail to sell at foreclosure auctions — during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
“I’d also like you to get back to me if you don’t mind to explain the disparity in REO rates,” Porter said to Carson. “Do you know what an REO is?”
“No, not an Oreo,” Porter said. “An R-E-O. REO.”
Carson responded, “Real estate …” before pausing.
Porter asked, “what’s the O stand for?,” to which Carson answered, “organization.”
Porter replied, “Owned, real estate owned. That’s what happens when a property goes to foreclosure, we call it an R-E-O.”
“FHA loans have much higher REOs — that is they go to foreclosure rather than to loss mitigation or to non-foreclosure alternatives like shortsales — than comparable loans at the GSEs,” Porter said. “So I’d like to know why we’re having more foreclosures that end in people losing their homes with stains to their credit and disruption to their communities and their neighborhoods at FHA than we are at the GSEs.”
After the hearing, Carson tweeted a photo of himself holding a package of Oreos and a photo with the package and a note that read: “To Rep. Porter, Thanks for your part in today’s hearing. Hope you like these O’REO(s).”
“OH, REO! Thanks, @RepKatiePorter. Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” Carson tweeted alongside the pictures.
Under law, federal employees are prohibited from spending in excess of an appropriation and an agency is restricted under law from spending more than $5,000 to furnish or redecorate an office without notifying Congress.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.