The wonderful thing about creating the laws of the land is that you can exempt yourself from those laws.

Whether it's Congress, the Utah Legislature or a local city council, the lawmakers often don't want laws to apply to themselves.A perfect example is campaign reporting and the Utah Legislature.

For years, state law has required that candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, auditor and treasurer report several times before the general election who gave them money and where they spent that money.

Through that law, citizens and a candidate's opponents know who is financing the opposition. Sometimes that can be politically embarrassing.

But Utah legislators specifically exempted themselves from the requirement for such pre-election reporting.

By law, legislative candidates only have to report their campaign financing after the general election. If they lose in the primary, they have to report after the primary election.

Of course, it does no good at all for a voter to know who gave a candidate cash after the election. That's the beauty of being the one who makes the laws.

But Sen. Fred Finlinson, R-Murray, and Rep. Craig Moody, R-Sandy, want to change campaign reporting for legislative candidates with an eye toward more complete disclosure.

Finlinson wants legislative candidates to report before the election, just like state-wide candidates must.

Moody wants financial disclosure to run for the whole term of the office a candidate is seeking, not just from the April 15 candidate filing deadline as is currently the rule.

As legislative races become more and more expensive, says Moody, candidates are raising money earlier and earlier.

Moody is the former GOP state chairman and as such saw Utah Senate races costing upwards of $20,000 and House races costing $10,000 and more. Gone are the days of the $500 campaign.

"Some candidates are raising money a year in advance of a race. But they only have to report money raised after April 15," he says.

Historically, it's been Democrats who've fought for financial disclosure, believing the Republicans have more big donors, more to hide.

But it's the Republican incumbents who've been hit in recent years by big financial opponents - especially labor unions and teacher associations.

I'll use the example of Sen. David Steele, although he isn't the only one and I'm not singling him out for criticism.

Several years ago, Steele, an educator, challenged Sen. Donna Wayment for her Davis County seat.

Before the primary election it was rumored that Steele was getting a lot of Davis Education Association and Utah Education Association support.

I asked him about it. He said yes, but had other contributors as well. He didn't have to file a financial disclosure statement.

As it turned out, most of Steele's money for his primary fight with Wayment came from the education associations.

He ended up beating Wayment in the primary and has since become a respected member of the Senate.

Repubicans want to know who is getting that education and labor money before an election, not after, so they can use it against Republican or Democratic challengers.

And voters should know, too, who's financing the state's legislative races before they cast ballots.