In an incendiary letter, officials of the Union of Values sharply criticize the leadership of its chairman Hans-Georg Maaßen. It is also about whether a new party should emerge from the association.
When Hans-Georg Maaßen came, the Union of Values experienced new impetus: suddenly there were applications to join the association again, with which Union members from the right wing of the party want to revive a kind of Kohl’s CDU. Maaßen was elected as the new chairman of the Union of Values in January, and the members had great hope for him as a prominent champion. A good six months later, a letter shows how quickly enthusiasm can turn into impatience and dissatisfaction.
t-online has a letter in which various officials from Maaßen’s Union of Values demand a different leadership style and answers. These include former board members of the federal board and members of the state boards. A central accusation: Maaßen is not a team player, but does his own thing with a small circle of confidants – with few goals and internal leadership. The union of values is in danger of becoming a “Maaßen association”. His behavior is irritating. “It’s disillusioning. And it seems like it’s marked by arrogance towards the members.” The only way to make up for this is with transparency.
“The issue is now settled”
On Tuesday last week, September 12th, Maaßen received the fire letter. The 14 signatories wrote of a low three-digit number of supporters, which is growing every day. According to its own information, the association has around 4,000 members in total. Maaßen responded with a timely invitation: this Monday he and the signatories of the letter met for a video conference. Maaßen took his time and provided explanations, says a spokesman for the Union of Values to t-online. The required transparency now exists.
However, he couldn’t say anything about the content, but: “All questions have been answered comprehensively and all possible misunderstandings have been cleared up. The topic has now been resolved.” He claims that he could say that after asking Maaßen and at least six signatories of the letter.
Maaßen’s critics in the club do not contradict the account, but they do not confirm it either: several signatories contacted declined to comment on the matter to t-online. The question circulating in her circle is how the letter with the sharp attacks against Maaßen could reach the public.
Many critics from the boards of Maaßen’s deputies
What’s piquant is that the signatories actually have a good connection to the top of the Union of Values - they work closely with Maaßen’s deputies. The state chairman of Baden-Württemberg, Marc Ehret, is also among the signatories of the fire letter. Like everyone else, he signed without mentioning his role. The majority of the signatures come from assessors either from Thuringia, where Maaßen ran unsuccessfully in the federal election, or from North Rhine-Westphalia, where Maaßen lives.
The deputy federal chairman Hans Pistner is also the state chairman in Thuringia. Five members of his state executive board signed the Maaßen scolding. Other signatories come from North Rhine-Westphalia, where Co-Federal Deputy Simone Baum is at the helm. Baum is one of the founding members of the Union of Values. She initiated Maaßen’s first public appearance in February 2019 and promoted Maaßen for the Union of Values. Two assessors from their regional association have now signed the Maaßen criticism.
Baum himself doesn’t want to say anything about the letter or the collaboration with Maaßen – the press spokesman should do that. He rejects that Maaßen’s deputies could have played a role in the protest letter: “The members of the federal executive board work very well, closely and trustingly with Hans-Georg Maaßen.” In the board election in June, two Maaßen acquaintances were elected as additional deputies.
Perhaps that is why the letter speaks of a “circle of yes-sayers, nods” and “a cadre around you as federal chairman”. The club spokesman rejects this: the federal chairman did not put together a “squad”.
After the appeal for Maaßen, donations received 70,000 euros?
Members are also concerned about how much the Union of Values helped finance Maaßen’s legal dispute with the CDU over his exclusion from the party, which the Cologne law firm Höcker had conducted for him. The CDU wanted to throw Maaßen out of the party, but the result was a reprimand. The federal executive board had solicited donations to a legal aid account. The letter states: “Where did the 70,000 euros in donations go?”
The Values Union spokesman confirmed that the association would contribute to the costs – this was also appropriate because the CDU cited Maaßen’s commitment to the Values Union as an argument for exclusion. But he couldn’t say anything about specific figures or funds. “We handle everything here very responsibly and correctly,” said the spokesman.