This article presents the results of a single-case study done in order to probe a specific version of an information processing approach to the study of (public) organizations. The case used for this probe is the European Fundamental Rights Agency. The article demonstrates that the information processing approach to public organizations as sketched out in the first sections of this article provides a conceptual framework that enables a fine-grained descriptive analysis of bureaucratic processes and their essential structures. It is shown how the rather fierce (‘constitutive’) politics behind the Fundamental Rights Agency establishment resulted in specific organizational structures that, from a strictly formal point of view, seem to effectively put the agency in shackles. This article also shows that although seemingly weak, the Fundamental Rights Agency is able to circumvent its formal restrictions through the exploitation of the structural incoherencies and gaps that are inevitable concomitants of political compromise in its daily operations.