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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the federal agency responsible for America’s communications law and regulations. When space on the electromagnetic spectrum is available, the FCC runs competitive auctions to determine which companies can operate in that spectrum. These auctions have brought in over $200 billion in revenue for the federal government. That’s in large part thanks to Evan Kwerel, who established the first ever competitive auctions to allocate public air waves. He is senior economic advisor in the Office of Economics and Analytics at the FCC and a finalist for the Paul Volcker Career Achievement Award.

  • Kwerel said he lobbied members of Congress in the 1990s to run the auctions and helped apply innovative economic principles to spectrum design.
  • Kwerel said Congress gave the FCC the authority to run spectrum auctions in 1993 after the failed use of hearings, license applications and lotteries.
  • Kwerel said getting buy-in was difficult at first when Democrats opposed auctions but became easier when former President Bill Clinton supported them.
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