In the United States, an important literature shows that legislators use interest groups, courts, and budgets to assert political control over bureaucrats. Similar theories can be applied to study the scores of new democracies that have emerged in recent decades. In Argentina, politicians in the first administration of Carlos Menem (1989-95) rewrote administrative procedures and relied on both ... [Show full abstract] “police patrol” and “fire alarm” oversight to realign the behavior of tax bureaucrats in conformance with their own policy preferences. Whereas U.S. legislators generally prefer complex administrative procedures, different electoral incentives led their Argentine counterparts to support reforms that significantly streamlined those procedures. This finding challenges theories that attribute legislators' bureaucratic preferences to the separation or fusion of powers between the executive and legislative branches.