Arkansas is turning up the heat on two companies suspected of having ties to the Chinese government. The state’s agriculture secretary has called on the attorney general to investigate Risever Machinery LLC, a parts manufacturer, and Jones Digital LLC, a crypto-mine.
Risever Machinery, despite paying its taxes, has raised eyebrows due to its seemingly empty premises. Jones Digital, on the other hand, is at the heart of a controversial crypto-mine operation and is suspected of being linked to several other crypto-mining companies in the state.
The probe is grounded in Act 636, which bars foreign-party-controlled businesses from owning Arkansas land. “China continues to be a country subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and is subject to the prohibitions of Act 636,” said the secretary in his letter to the attorney general.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been clear about her stance on Chinese government-affiliated businesses in Arkansas. Meanwhile, the attorney general’s office revealed it’s already investigating Jones Digital and 24 other crypto-mining companies.
“We are, in a very methodical way, looking at these to ensure that they are in compliance with Arkansas law,” said the attorney general.
The news has been welcomed by the Committee to Protect Arkansas County, also known as Say No to Crypto, which has been voicing concerns about the crypto-mining operations.
This isn’t the first time Arkansas has scrutinized businesses for potential links to the Chinese Communist Party. Last October, the state ordered Northrup King Seed Company, a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned chemical company, to divest 160 acres of farmland.
As the investigation unfolds, many are calling for a special session to repeal the “Right to Mine” bill, a new law that eases restrictions on crypto-mines in the state.