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Media spread Clinton-esque 'pay-to-play' story about Ivanka Trump. But is it true?

Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's daughter, is accused of Clinton-esque "pay-to-play" with\n the World Bank's "Women Entrepreneurs Fund" — but that's not the whole story. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The mainstream media were aghast Sunday over news that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged to donate more than $100 million to a fund reportedly connected to Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump.

Many portrayed the story in a "Clinton-esque" light, namely that the Saudis announced the contribution only after Trump, according to CNBC, inked a $350 billion, 10-year arms deal with the Saudis on Saturday — $110 billion of which was effective immediately.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported the news late Saturday. The Journal story described the transaction from the Saudis and UAE as going to the World Bank's "Women Entrepreneurs Fund."

Ivanka was the "brainchild" of the Women Entrepreneur Fund, according to NPR, but she doesn't raise money or control the fund, and thus, it doesn't belong to her.

However, when Wall Street Journal reporter Rebecca Ballhaus tweeted the outlet's story of the donation to her followers, she characterized the fund as "Ivanka's Women Entrepreneurs Fund."

Of course, the characterization wasn't quite accurate because Ivanka is connected to the fund only because she proposed it.

Still, the story left many in the news media comparing it to Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. Clinton was accused by many — including then-candidate Donald Trump — of using "pay-to-play" as secretary of state, meaning she would give certain countries favors in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.

But as NPR described, the comparison fell flat:

The World Bank fund, which provides technical help and investment funding for women business owners, differs from the Clinton Foundation in some significant ways. While Ivanka Trump proposed the idea along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she is not involved with its operation.

However, that didn't stop many influential media personalities from sharing the story and drawing the false connection to the Clinton Foundation controversy.

Many of the tweets garnered thousands, even tens of thousands, of retweets:

It should be noted that while at the State Department, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn't manage the day-to-day operations of the Clinton Foundation and reportedly stayed away from the organization completely during her tenure as the United States' top diplomat.

At the time, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and other foundation staff raised funds and ran the organization.

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