But her own ethics came under fire throughout the campaign, most notably in questions about ''Troopergate.' Palin had fired Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in July. Monegan said he had been pushed out because he refused to fire Alaska state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin's ex-brother-in-law. By the time Palin got the nod from John McCain, the Alaska legislature was already investigating Monegan's termination. Ultimately, Palin was cleared of any ethical wrongdoing by an independent counsel.
Still, corruption scandals can have a silver lining not just for politicians, but for the people, said Kristina Fisher, Associate Director of Think New Mexico, a non-partisan think tank.
"Any state that has enacted substantial ethics reform has done so after a scandal," she said, citing Connecticut's strict limits on political donations. "In the wake of those, there's a window of opportunity to get some substantive reforms through."