Chile presents a paradox for legislative studies. In most comparative research on the political power of presidents and assemblies in Latin America, the Chilean presidency is considered one of the most powerful in the region. The country's congress is seen, accordingly, as weak and lacking influence over public policy. Such evaluations, however, tend to be based on constitutional and legal faculties (that is, formal powers), and they overlook the substantial influence exerted by the Chilean Congress through informal political channels. This article analyzes literature on informal politics that shows the substantial influence of Chile's Congress on public policy; and, for comparison, presents an empirical study that adds several details to current accounts of congressional influence on the bureaucracy in Chile and describes two mechanisms of congressional influence not contemplated by recent research.