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go through channels

Use the correct procedure, especially in a hierarchy or bureaucracy. For example, You'll have to go through channels for approval of this expenditure. This term uses channel in the sense of “a conduit.” [ Mid-1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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