In an apparent move toward garnering a position as a TV personality, Olson established KyleOlson.com in 2005. Composed of blog posts based on the Fox News model, Olson warned of union-driven street insurrections on March 26, 2011:
Radicals who fantasize about Che Guevara’s revolution, the Soviet States of America and the good ole days of Chairman Mao will soon be making their move. They’ll be doing their best to seize the current “crisis” and push their socialist agenda.
In reaction to a possible NFL players strike, Olson wrote:
Here’s an idea. Let’s have the NEA and AFT become the owners of a new NFL franchise. For a lack of a better name, we’ll call the new team the Thugs.
Olson found a new outlet by posting on the Big Government website, best known for publicizing the highly-edited ACORN/pimp videos produced by conservative activist James OKeefe. A March 2011 post attacking the Michigan Education Association’s reaction to moves to limit its collective bargaining rights led to a blizzard of comments labeling teachers as “pawns,” “pig-ignorant douchebags,” “despicable,” “dumb as a box of rocks,” and “raving progressives.’ Olson delivers red meat commentary that appeals to his extreme right wing readers.
Kyle Olson and the Education Action Group’s connections to the Mackinac Center are well known; their relationship with the national anti-union movement is perhaps less known.
A connection with the aggressively anti-union group UnionFacts is becoming apparent. UnionFacts spent $1.3 million on TV and radio ads and over $800,000 on print ads trashing unions in 2008. Like EAG, they specialize in what’s been called “attack conservatism.” Kyle Olson maintained a Michigan version of the UnionFacts TeachersUnionsExposed website. Both made a major push into what they sold as “Hijacked Elections.”
The Center for Union Facts was established by the National Chamber of Commerce, which, together with its state affiliates has committed $8 annually to fund the CUF. The Chamber tapped Richard Berman, a 62-year-old former national Chamber staffer to run the Center for Union Facts.
Since 1986, Berman has coordinated the advertising efforts for a half-dozen corporate front groups through his own DC based advertising and PR agency – personally making millions in the process.
With this inspiration, EAG engaged itself in a 2008 school board election in Grand Rapids, MI.
It erected billboards and mailed pamphlets arguing that the school staff is overpaid, that unions had too much influence and opposed union-endorsed candidates. No campaign finance reports were filed related to this activity.
In its most partisan move, EAG formed the Education Action Fund, an IRS 527 which erected far right-wing attack billboards. One such billboard savaged a Democratic candidate in a 2010 Michigan state senate campaign.