Southern California — this just in

January 4, 2010 | 4:30 pm

The California Republican Party has agreed to pay $18,000 in fines to the state’s political ethics agency for campaign finance violations that include failure to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses.

The agreement to pay the fines will be considered Jan. 14 by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, whose staff negotiated the settlement after eight violations were found in a routine audit.

The GOP committee admitted that it failed to properly report $758,000 in expenses in 2004, most of it to help candidates on the ballot that year. The candidates are not named in the agreement.

The committee also overstated its cash balance and did not provide required information about vendors that it paid for services.

The violations mean “the public is deprived of important information” on campaign spending, an ethics commission memo said. The commission staff said the state party “should have known or been familiar with the requirements” because it is an experienced political entity.