Attorney General Ashley Moody is the latest Florida official to raise concern over communist China buying land in Florida.
Moody, appearing on the Fox Business Network program Varney and Co., advocated for regulating foreign purchases of Florida land.
Moody said, “I think what’s shocking the leaders here in Florida is that for 14 years running Florida has been the number one state in foreign investment in our land.” Florida acquisitions, Moody noted, made up 24 percent of the $6.1 billion of foreign investment in American property last year. And some of the land is prime, she noted.
Asked by host Stuart Varney if there were plans to stop Chinese nationals from buying Florida land, Moody said that Governor DeSantis was “looking at facts and strategy.”
“There is no doubt that we are vulnerable and we need someone to pay attention to this,” Moody said.
Moody advocated “disclosures,” like those seen in other states, for foreign purchases of agricultural property.
“Florida has no restrictions. Now compare that to China. China does have restrictions on foreign investment,” he said. “There is no doubt our policies are self-sacrificing and outdated; they leave us vulnerable.”
The issue of foreign land purchases made national news earlier this month when it was reported that a 300-acre parcel of land just north of Grand Forks, North Dakota, was sold to a Chinese company, the Fufeng Group, based in Shandong, China.
The property is just about 20 minutes from Grand Forks Air Force Base – home to some of the nation’s most sensitive military drone technology.
The base is also the home of a new space networking center, which a North Dakota senator said handles “the backbone of all U.S. military communications across the globe.”
Commenting on the North Dakota transaction, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said, “It is dangerous, foolish, and shortsighted to allow the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies to purchase land near U.S. military installations,” he told CNBC in a statement, noting that he is co-sponsoring legislation that would give the Biden administration the power to block such a purchase. “This is something we must address.”
Moody’s comments came after Gov. Ron DeSantis called out China for buying large amounts of property in Florida.
Appearing on The Ingraham Angle, DeSantis said, “I don’t think they should be able to do it.”
DeSantis added, “I think the problem is these companies have ties to the CCP, and it’s not always apparent on the face of whatever a company is doing – but I think it’s a huge problem.”
DeSantis said Tallahassee had banned Chinese “Confucius Institutes,” which he said allow CCP influence and propaganda into the higher education system.
“We’re also probably going to do legislation next legislative session about our pension investments, with things that may be linked to the CCP. We don’t necessarily have a lot of it, but we want to make sure that we’re cutting ties so that we’re not funding our number one adversary,” the governor said.
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.