7 CFR 3.77 - Hearing.
(a) If an employee timely files a petition for a hearing under section 3.75, USDA shall select the time, date, and location for the hearing.
(1) Hearings shall be conducted by the hearing official designated in accordance with 5 CFR 550.1107; and
(2) Rules of evidence shall not be adhered to, but the hearing official shall consider all evidence that he or she determines to be relevant to the debt that is the subject of the hearing and weigh it accordingly, given all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the debt.
(c) USDA will have the burden of going forward to prove the existence of the debt.
(d) The employee requesting the hearing shall bear the ultimate burden of proof.
(e) The evidence presented by the employee must prove that no debt exists or cast sufficient doubt such that reasonable minds could differ as to the existence of the debt.