Steve King also suggested a closer relationship between Barack Obama and ACORN in an interview at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
The FBI has joined nearly a dozen states in investigating ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The group hired more than 13,000 part-time workers and sent them out in 21 states to sign up voters in minority and poor neighborhoods. The U.S. voter system requires individuals to register themselves to vote before going to the polls.
ACORN submitted 1.3 million registration cards to local election officials.
Along the way, bogus ones appeared -- signed in the names of cartoon characters, professional football players and scores of others bearing the same handwriting. And in recent days, those phony registrations have exploded into Republican condemnations of far-ranging misconduct, and the relatively obscure community activist group took a starring role in the final presidential debate.
"It's clear that it is a Democrat activist organization," King said. "They are supposed to be nonprofit and nonpartisan. They're operating in at least 21 states, probably many more than that. In 14 of the 21 states, they are under investigation, reportedly. In the state of Washington, they have convictions for voter registration fraud where they turned in 1,800 voter registration forms and only 6 of the 1,800 were valid. The rest of them were false, phony, fraudulent. So that is a 1-in-300 effectiveness rate or efficiency rate there."
The Democrats and Obama say the controversy is preposterous and is just political mudslinging. ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring retaliated recently in a series of conference calls and interviews. "What we're seeing is the manufacture of a crisis, and attempts to smear Sen. Obama with it. It gives you an excuse should you lose or if there's a contested outcome of the election."
King was clearly less trusting of Kettenring's group in his comments Monday.
"ACORN has a long history of intimidating people into registering," he said. "They have one individual who registered 73 times -- sometimes he got a cigarette, sometimes he got a dollar, I think, the way he talked, sometimes he had something else. ACORN is out in the streets and getting in people's faces and it will, in the end, undermine -- erode -- our constitutional republic, if our electoral process does not have the maximum integrity."
ACORN officials have repeatedly claimed that their own quality control workers were the first to discover problematic ballots.
King also is leery of Obama 's relationship with ACORN. Obama helped represent ACORN in a successful 1995 suit against the state of Illinois, which forced enactment of the so-called motor-voter law, making it easier for people to register vote when they got their driving licenses.
"We cannot tolerate fraudulent organizations," King said. "I believe ACORN is that. I believe that Obama is ACORN. When John McCain said he looked in Putin's eyes and sees K-G-B, when I look at Obama, I see the ACORN logo branded on his forehead. That has been part and parcel of his political activity since he first broke in as a youngster in the south side of Chicago."
Obama said this week that he had "nothing to do with" ACORN's massive voter registration drive.
"Obama trained ACORN activists," King maintains. "He went to court for ACORN, was a hired attorney for them and then as his campaign has sent a big check to ACORN to get out the vote. He is part and parcel of ACORN. Obama has ACORN in his DNA and he's the only one that, I believe, can stand up and say: ACORN, shut down right now."
King said he tried require voter registration lists to be free of duplication, those who are deceased and those with felonies on record as a state senator. He also wanted proof of citizenship and a photo ID during the voting process.
"I'm really not very worried about that," King said. "I think it is important to speak the truth. And of all the series of controversies that have come up over the six years I've been in Congress -- maybe every other year or so -- something goes on the hardcore left-wing blogger's Web site that they're offended by. You know, they're just really offended by the truth. I have said consistently, if they are offended by statements I've made, those statements were true the day I said them and I believe all of them remain true today. I stand by the facts and if you are uncomfortable with the facts as they are presented, it is not appropriate in this society to attack the messenger. You have to, at least at a minimum, offer an alternative fact. Then we can have a debate. But I don't find them coming up with alternative facts. They will just say: Well, Steve King said something and it offends me. Therefore I am going to label him."
King also addressed the economy with community leaders, who gathered for a joint service organization luncheon in Spencer.
"I thought it was a big mistake when we had free-market solutions that we could have easily put in place." King said. "As soon as we proposed that we'd suspend capital gains tax (chairman of the House Banking Committee) Barney Frank (a Massachusetts Democrat) said: 'non-starter, it's off the table we're not discussing that.' So in the end, we did not get much debate going on about suspending capital gains in order to inject trillions into the U.S. economy. So instead of having willing investors pick up the toxic debt, we have unwilling taxpayers burdened forever."