Democratic legitimacy is often seen as exclusively implying political-administrative accountability, within hierarchical relationships. In street-level organizations, however, multiple accountabilities are practiced. Based on the literature on democratic legitimacy, we conceptualize the practice of street-level accountability as a constitutive dimension of the throughput legitimacy of state action. This conceptual clarification enables an empirical exploration of how the democratic (input) legitimacy of policy decisions affects the practices of street-level accountability (throughput legitimacy), as well as the consequences for performance (output legitimacy). The case at hand is the implementation of the Swiss Federal Forest Policy 2020 by subnational governments and private actors between 2012-2015. We find that deficient input legitimacy of policies produces accountability dilemmas and thereby negatively affects output performance.